A step forward.
BATON ROUGE — Lawmakers in the Louisiana state legislature gave the final greenlight for a bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use across the entire state. Now, the bill that makes the penalty for smoking pot no more than a traffic or ticket is prepared to appear before Gov. John Bel Edwards for a final approval.
A few weeks ago, Edwards told the nation that marijuana reform will happen during his administration, or, at least, “eventually.” Gov. Edwards hosts an occurring radio hour, and in May, he offered his remarks on the movement to legalize marijuana.
“In the past, as a legislator and as governor, I’ve been opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana,” the governor said. “I will tell you, I have come to believe that it is going to happen in Louisiana eventually.”
Now, decriminalization is a step away and could mean big news for advocates and would-be entrepreneurs.
“This is a common sense approach to a problem that is plaguing us across the state,” said State Sen. Jay Luneau, who presented the bill on the Senate floor Monday earlier this week, according to coverage on the topic by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.
State Rep. Cedric Glover introduced the bill in the House.
“One thing I think we can find common ground on is the belief that the possession of small amounts of marijuana should not lead you to jail or to become a felon,” Glover said previously during a committee hearing.
Republicans across the state have openly opposed the legislation, citing the supremacy of federal law and the fact that agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration still classify marijuana as a controlled substance. A leader in the local Baptist church also was the only one to testify against the measure, claiming that it is morally reprehensible.