Louisiana Governor Will Sign Marijuana Reform Bills

Jun 18, 2015

Bobby Jindal, HB 149, Louisiana, SB 143

[caption id="attachment_8911" align="alignright" width="220"]220px-Bobby_Jindal,_official_109th_Congressional_photo Gov. Bobby Jindal[/caption]

The Louisiana Legislature has sent Gov. Bobby Jindal two bills proposing positive reforms to Louisiana’s marijuana policies! While one bill is largely symbolic, the other will help dial back some of the country’s harshest penalties for marijuana possession.

Gov. Jindal said this week that he will sign both bills into law:

"We are going to sign both bills. They've made it through the process. They are going to make to my desk in the next few days," Jindal told The Des Moines Register.

SB 143 amends a 1991 law allowing Louisiana’s physicians to prescribe medical marijuana in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, this prescription requirement was not removed and because no physician can prescribe marijuana without risking losing their license to prescribe other medications (or worse), we are concerned that this proposal will not create a workable program. However, we are pleased that the House and Senate recognized the medical value of marijuana, and are hopeful Gov. Jindal will too.

Meanwhile, HB 149 chips away at Louisiana’s draconian penalties for marijuana possession by reducing the fine and potential jail time for possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana. For a first offense, the maximum jail sentence would be reduced from six months to 15 days, while the fine would be reduced from up to $500 to up to $300. HB 149 would also significantly reduce the sentences for second and subsequent marijuana possession charges. While still harsh, this is a good step toward a more rational approach.