Yesterday, Louisiana state Rep. Austin Badon’s HB 103, a bill that would reduce marijuana possession penalties for second and subsequent offenses, passed the House 54-38.
Unfortunately, time is running short on this year’s session. The Louisiana Legislature plans to adjourn June 6, so the Senate must act quickly to pass this sensible reform.
Rep. Badon’s proposal has been weakened somewhat since the last vote, but it’s still a solid step in the right direction. As approved by the House yesterday, HB 103 would change the maximum sentence for a second possession offense to two years rather than five; a third offense would carry a five-year maximum sentence instead of 20; and the maximum sentence for a fourth offense would be set at eight years rather than life. In addition to lowering penalties and possible incarceration time for marijuana possession offenses, the proposal would also remove marijuana possession from the list of offenses that receive mandatory minimum sentences.