A proposal attempting to make Louisiana the first state in the South to legalize recreational use of marijuana failed in the House Criminal Justice Committee. New Orleans Representative John Bagneris brought the bill before the panel.

“I think we have a chance to put Louisiana in a right spot, because as long as we wait the pot of money will shrink and it will get smaller and smaller,” said Bagneris.

Bagneris says tax revenues from the sale of legal pot could go towards public schools, TOPS and better roads. Kevin Caldwell of Common Sense NOLA says marijuana use is increasing and the state is not getting any benefits from it.

“Attempting to legislate morality as it comes to this plant has been an utter failure, as we’ve seen continues growth of use cannabis throughout this state for the last 30-to-40 years,” said Caldwell.

Colorado was one of the first to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. But Winnsboro Representative Steve Pylant says that state is still dealing with illegal drug activity as authorities recently executed the state’s biggest drug bust involving marijuana growers.

“They seized over 80,000 plants and right at 5,000 tons of the finished product and in their own words they said this is just the tip of the iceberg as what it’s going on in Colorado,” said Pylant.

After about a ten-minute discussion on the proposal, the marijuana legalization bill was soundly defeated on an 8-to-4 vote.

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