Louisiana Republican Representative introduces bill aimed at legalizing marijuana

Louisiana

(KLFY) A bill has been introduced to the Louisiana State House of Representatives that is aimed at legalizing and decriminalizing recreational marijuana.

Representative Richard Nelson (R-89) authored the 22 page bill.

If approved by both the state house and senate, it would be left up to Louisiana voters to decide whether to make the recreational use legal.

The constitutional amendment will require two-thirds of the members of the state House and Senate’s approval, plus a majority of the voters.

Rep. Nelson says this would be beneficial to the economy.

“Normally big proponents of this follow a certain stereotype. I’m a conservative from a conservative district who has never smoked marijuana.” Rep. Nelson said.

The bill calls for an election in Nov. 2022 if approved. The state will vote as a whole and each individual parish will as well.

If the state votes yes as a whole, recreational marijuana will be legalized. If the state votes no as a whole, the use of recreational marijuana will still be illegal.

If the state votes yes and a parish as a votes no, the parish will not be able to have any businesses in it selling cannabis. However, marijuana will still be legal across the state.

“It would be like alcohol, like dry counties. That was kind of the inspiration for this, there’s places that don’t agree with the sale of alcohol, so they don’t sell alcohol,” Rep. Nelson said.

The bill states that no one under 21-years-old will be able to buy or sell marijuana. For those interested in selling, a special license must be obtained by the Louisiana Department of Health.

Nelson also believes this will limit the strain placed on the criminal justice system. He says drug courts are overwhelmed with minor drug offenses.

You can read the full bill here at HB264

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