Louisiana House Approves HB 652, A Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that effectively decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana. Under the measure, House Bill 652 (HB 652), possession of up to 14 grams (about a half an ounce) of cannabis would be punished by only a fine of up to $100 on the first and second offense. Minor marijuana possession offenses would still be classified as misdemeanors but would no longer carry the threat of time in jail.

“We don’t need to be filling up our jails with misdemeanor offenses of marijuana,” Democratic Rep. Denise Marcelle, a supporter of the bill, told local media.

The bill was approved last week by the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice in advance of this week’s floor vote. The full House approved HB 652 on Tuesday with a vote of 67 to 25. The measure sponsored by Rep. Cedric Glover received significant support from both his Democratic colleagues and members of the GOP majority.

“I think it’s a fairly good compromise,” said Rep. Alan Seabaugh, a Republican and one of the most conservative members of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Some of Louisiana’s largest cities,

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