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Marijuana Laws

What Are the Updated Louisiana Marijuana Laws?

Some people may wrongly believe that because of New Orleans’ open container laws for alcohol that marijuana is also allowed, but this is not the case.

Marijuana is still illegal in Louisiana

However, the legislature is taking steps towards changing that policy in small ways, and as of June 15, 2021, very small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized.

For several other drug offenses, though, you can certainly still face serious fines, penalties, and jail time. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney on your side if you’re facing drug charges. From criminal defense attorney John Radziewicz, here’s what you need to know about Louisiana’s update marijuana laws.

Is Marijuana Decriminalized in Louisiana?

The short answer is no, since not all amounts of marijuana are decriminalized. 

However, in 2019, Governor John Bel Edwards signed HB 652, which decriminalized possession of less than 14 grams of cannabis. Whether this is a first offense or a subsequent offense, possession of this small amount is now punishable by a $100 fine but no jail time.

Louisiana Medical Marijuana Law 

In 2016, the Louisiana governor signed into law a bill that got the Louisiana medical marijuana program rolling. 

The law positively changed the lives of many families who are currently suffering from a number of debilitating diseases and watching their loved ones suffer, covering a wider list of diseases as well as change regulations so that marijuana, in the form of an oil, can get into a patient’s hands quicker. 

The list of medical conditions that can get medicinal-grade marijuana now includes:

  • Cancer 
  • A severe form of cerebral palsy
  • Seizure disorders
  • HIV
  • Epilepsy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • And a number of other diseases

Other Louisiana Marijuana Charge Updates

Here’s a quick summary of other changes to Louisiana’s marijuana laws:

  • The smell of marijuana is not probable cause to search your house without a warrant.
  • Visiting patients who are currently in another state’s medical marijuana program can get their medical marijuana dispensed in Louisiana.
  • It is illegal for a driver or passengers in a motor vehicle to smoke or vape any form of marijuana. 

Penalties for Marijuana Charges in Louisiana

So what happens if you are arrested for a non-medical marijuana charge in New Orleans or elsewhere in Louisiana? 

You could be facing serious penalties, even just for marijuana possession:

  • 14 grams or less: $100 fine
  • More than 14 grams: 
    • First offense: 0-6 months in jail and/or $500 fine
    • Subsequent offenses: 0-8 years in jail and up to $5000 fine

Charges classified as Possession With Intent to Distribute and distribution itself carry higher penalties:

  • Less than 2.5 pounds: 1-10 years in jail and/or $50,000 fine
  • 2.5 pounds or more: 1-20 years in jail and/or $50,000 fine

Contact a New Orleans Marijuana Crimes Defense Lawyer

Were you recently cited, fined or arrested for a marijuana crime in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish or the greater New Orleans parishes? If you or someone you know is currently facing marijuana charges, a drug crime defense lawyer can help ensure that your rights are not violated, you are not punished for a crime you did not commit, or you face the minimum charges possible. Additionally, our lawyers at Crescent City Law will fight to ensure that any arrests or charges you receive do not affect your family or personal life. Facing drug crimes can be stressful, but it does not have to be. Contact us today to get started on your defense.

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