Louisiana Residents Want Legal Weed, State Lawmakers Scared
Louisiana residents support legalized marijuana. In fact, a recent poll by the American Civil Liberties Union discovered that more than half of the state’s registered voters are in favor of supporting a taxed and regulated marijuana commerce, as opposed to locking up nonviolent drug offenders for petty possession.
Despite all the success witnessed in Colorado in recent months, lawmakers are apprehensive about marijuana reform. As it stands, legal weed in Louisiana is a dead issue this year, but the subject has garnered some borderline support from legislators interested in stripping away some of the state’s harsher sentences… they are still not sure, however, about full legalization.
Representative Truck Gisclair says that nearly 95% of the emails he has received this legislative session have been about marijuana… but he remains cautious. "My position right now would just be against it until I see more scientific proof," Gisclair told KATC. "My concerns are the long-term effects on the brain, on the person. I've known some guys who have probably smoked it all their lives. ... I'm not going to say they're normal, in their mannerisms and behavioral habits."
Other lawmakers refuse to vote in favor of marijuana until the United States repeals prohibition or approves it for medicinal use. "I still don't understand how Colorado can be going against something that the federal government said is illegal," said Representative Joe Harrison. "The feds are supposed to be the lead on this. Once the FDA approves marijuana for medical use, then I will take a look at it."
However, both lawmakers said they would consider supporting measures to lessen some of the marijuana penalties surrounding possession. Currently, the state has some of the strictest marijuana penalties in America, with three-strike offenders doing as much as 20 years hard labor for simple possession.
Supporters of legal weed in Louisiana say the state is missing out on much needed revenue by not supporting a marijuana industry, allowing money that could be used to improve the state to remain in the hands of drug cartels.
Opposing forces believe using marijuana to support Louisiana is irresponsible lawmaking.