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Louisiana Governor Jindal Signs Marijuana Sentencing Reform Measure

bobby jindal louisiana marijuana

(image via wikipedia)

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal signed legislation late yesterday significantly reducing criminal penalties for marijuana possession offenses.

House Bill 149, which took effect upon signing, amends the state’s toughest-in-the-nation repeat offender laws for marijuana possession offenses.

Under the previous law, second-time possession offenders faced up to five years of hard labor in prison. Third-time offenders faced up to 20 years hard labor in prison.

Under the revised law, two-time marijuana possession offenders face a maximum sentence of six-months in prison. Three-time offenders face a maximum sentence of two-years in prison. Those convicted of marijuana possession for a fourth time face up to eight years in prison.

First-time offenders found in the possession of 14 grams of cannabis or less now face a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail (reduced from six-months). House Bill 149 allows offenders to apply to have their record expunged if they aren’t convicted of a marijuana violation within two years of the first offense.

According to an analysis by the ACLU, Louisiana ranks #14 in the nation in per-capita marijuana possession arrests.

Gov. Jindal also signed separate legislation, SB 143, amending the state’s dormant Therapeutic Research Act. Specifically, the measure asks the state to adopt rules and regulations “relating to the dispensing of prescribed marijuana for therapeutic use” for patients with glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, or who are undergoing cancer chemotherapy. However, because this language directly conflicts with federal regulations prohibiting doctors from ‘prescribing’ schedule I controlled substances, it remains to be seen whether any licensed Louisiana physicians will agree to participate in the state’s proposed program.

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Johnny Green


  1. Trichometrist on

    This is big.
    Anyone who KNOws the southern ways has to admit this is a huge step. For Jindal to take this stand could mean political suicide .

  2. Charles Braga on

    I’m from RI. We have a medical marijuana program. I myself am a patient. Our laws have changed. Simple possession for the public is a $150. fine. No jail time. A 90 day sentence can ruin a young person. That’s just wrong man. Yes we need better laws . The feds just follows what the states are doing ,not leading. We need to fix things at the state level. Push local leaders for more compassionate laws. Look where the rest of the country is going . We can’t all be wrong.

  3. ĐΣFΣCŦΣĐ on

    More political lunatics playing with human freedom. How is smoking a joint hurting another person? How is smoking a joint evil? How can anyone in this day and age believe in 1937 madness. Facts are out and science says Cannabis has health benefits!

  4. It’s Louisiana….we have a different breed of asshole for republican politicians in this state. I’m proud of the progress we made considering what we have to deal with, and this is why congress and Obama need to Lower the penalties and reschedule on a federal level.

  5. Charles Braga on

    They still want to put you in jail. WTF? How is this progress? I guess the GOP thinks it is. Maybe they have to wean themselves off the war on drugs.

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