Today the Louisiana House votes to end jail time for simple marijuana possession.
The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Cedric Glover (D), has gone through several changes since its introduction. The change would make the maximum penalty for any possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana for personal use is punishable by a fine of not more than $100 without arrest or jail time. Each violation after will result in an additional fine of no more than $100. Offenders would be issued a ticket instead of arrested.
The move, on a 67-to-25 vote Tuesday, would represent a significant step in the effort to loosen Louisiana’s prohibition on marijuana. If approved by the Louisiana Senate, Louisiana would become the latest in a string of states to eliminate the possibility of jail time for people caught with small amounts of marijuana.
“The possession of a small amount of marijuana should no longer result in two things,” Glover said. “One is setting out a result, and a path, that leads you to become a convicted felon. And neither should it set you on a path to go to prison.”
Currently the law is possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $300 and/or up to 15 days of imprisonment. For first offenders, possession of more than 14 grams but less than 2 ½ pounds of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up-to 6 months of imprisonment.
On April 27, 2021, the Louisiana House committee approved a bill Tuesday that would decriminalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use, despite opposition from sheriffs and prosecutors.