The penalty for just under a half-ounce of cannabis is reduced to a fine.
Louisiana’s new cannabis “decriminalization” law — HB 652 — took effect yesterday!
On August 1, 2021, the penalty for possessing up to 14 grams of cannabis (0.49 oz.) was reduced to a fine of up to $100. For those unable to pay, the court shall use its discretion for alternatives, such as community service or installment payments. Thanks to the new law, possession of up to 14 grams is now enforced by a summons (like a traffic ticket) not an arrest.
This new law does not reduce penalties for possessing over 14 grams or for possession with intent to distribute or sales of any amount. Those penalties remain harsh.
We are grateful to everyone who has worked so hard for humane cannabis policies in Louisiana, including bill sponsor Rep. Cedric Glover and Louisiana Progress — which led the charge on legalization and decriminalization advocacy this year. We also appreciate each of you who urged your lawmakers and the governor to support this important reform, which will save thousands from the trauma of arrest and incarceration!
Stay tuned for updates on efforts to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults’ use. The Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice is studying the issue before the legislature reconvenes next year. And, in New Orleans, the proposed ordinance to pardon past and future cannabis possession offenses awaits a vote.