May 23, 2022
Baton Rouge, committees, criminal justice reforms, HB 1028, HB 135, HB 137, HB 234, HB 588, HB 629, HB 697, HB 698, HB 700, HB 775, LA, legislative overview, Louisiana, medical cannabis, Pelican State, Senate, Senate floor
It’s been a busy year in Baton Rouge so far! There were over 20 cannabis-related bills introduced this session. We have seen bipartisan support for both improving the medical program and for criminal justice reforms.
With only two weeks left in the legislative session, several bills have passed the House and are beginning to be taken up in Senate committees.
Criminal justice reform — Multiple bills have passed the House of Representatives that would reduce the harm done by Louisiana cannabis laws:
Let your senator know you support these criminal justice reforms!
We have also been able to keep the bill (HB 700) that would re-criminalize cannabis possession for minors — including by adding possible jail time — from getting a floor vote and helped build bipartisan opposition to it.
In other good news, HB 234, which would impose a fine on smoking or vaping cannabis in a moving vehicle, was amended in a Senate committee to make it a secondary offense (meaning you must be pulled over for another offense). This is important to ensure it’s not used as a tool for pretextual stops (including of people who may be smoking cigarettes or vaping nicotine).
Medical cannabis — We have seen strong bipartisan support for some improvements to the medical cannabis program, although we’ve been disappointed that the bill to remove the paltry cap on cultivation licenses was defeated.
These bills are all now pending in the Senate — either in committees or on the Senate floor. For more information, including the status of several other cannabis bills, you can check up our updated legislative overview. Unfortunately, some other valiant attempts to improve cannabis policies — including by setting up a framework for legalization and removing cannabis possession from the habitual offender sentencing — fell short this year.
Please share this message with friends and family in Louisiana. Together, we will continue to advance sensible cannabis policy in the Pelican State!