Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Wins Louisiana House Support
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — House lawmakers have agreed to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.
Shreveport Representative Cedric Glover said the possession of a small amount of marijuana should no longer result in two things.
“It should not result in a path that leads you to become a convicted felon and neither should it set you on a path to go to prison,” Glover said.
Currently, a person who possesses 14 grams or less of marijuana could face up to 15 days in jail and up to six months if convicted a second time. Glover’s bill removes the possibility of jail time and would make a $100 fine the maximum penalty. Baton Rouge Representative Denise Marcelle voted in support.
“We don’t need to be filling up our jails with misdemeanor offenses, small amounts of marijuana,” Marcelle said.
The measure passed on a 67-35 vote. Even one of the most conservative members of the House voted for it, Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh.
“What we’re essentially doing is giving the officer who is in the process of apprehending the person the authority to write them a ticket so he doesn’t have to actually incarcerate them,” Seabaugh said.
Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans have already passed local ordinances that decriminalized convictions for small marijuana possessions. The legislation heads to the Senate for more discussion.
Tuesday night's 67-25 vote for Rep. Cedric Glover’s bill represents a sea change and a sign of shifting opinions about marijuana, after similar measures have failed repeatedly to gain traction in prior years. The measure by the Shreveport Democrat heads next to the Senate for debate. It's unclear how the measure will fare in that chamber.
The proposal would make possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana a misdemeanor carrying a fine up to $100, even for repeat offenses.
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