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Home > News > Policy

Louisiana Decriminalizes Cannabis Possession

Published: Jun 16, 2021   
Louisiana Decriminalizes Cannabis Possession

Leo Bear-McGuinness
Science Writer & Editor

The state government of Louisiana has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use.

A bill to formally decriminalize the act was signed by the US state’s governor, John Bel Edwards, on Tuesday June 15.

While possession of 14 grams of cannabis (half an ounce) or less will remain punishable (with a maximum penalty of a $100 fine), the threat of prison time has been removed.

“This is not a decision I took lightly,” the governor said in a statement. “In addition to carefully reviewing the bill, I also believe deeply that the state of Louisiana should no longer incarcerate people for minor legal infractions, especially those that are legal in many states, that can ruin lives and destroy families, as well as cost taxpayers greatly.”

The new law will take effect from August 1.

“This is a much needed policy change for Louisiana,” Carly Wolf, states policies manager of NORML, a non-profit that advocates for cannabis legalization, said in a statement. “The passage of this legislation is great progress toward ending the racially discriminatory policy of branding otherwise law-abiding Louisianans as criminals for minor marijuana possession offenses when law enforcement should instead be focusing on fighting legitimate crime.”

 

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