House Committee Approves Pot Legalization Study Resolution
A House committee unanimously approves a resolution calling for the formation of a committee dedicated to studying the impacts of potentially legalizing marijuana in Louisiana.
Thibodaux Representative Bryan Fontenot was one of the leading voices against legalization this year and said this kind of study must be conducted before lawmakers can make an informed decision.
“You’ve got law enforcement, you’ve got business, and you’ve got mental health, I think this is the right avenue to move forward in the State of Louisiana and get the correct input from those people,” said Fontenot.
The committee will be made up of legislative leaders, DAs, Sheriffs, the state medical marijuana industry, LSU and Southern Ag, and criminal justice reform advocates. The committee must report its findings no less than 14 days prior to the start of the 2022 Regular Legislative Session.
Despite widespread public support the legislation could not overcome strong opposition by the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association, but Executive Director Michael Ranatza backed this resolution.
“We are very thankful for the opportunity to truly study the effects of cannabis in the other states that have legalized it, and do our due diligence,” said Ranatza.
17 states have legalized recreational marijuana.
Governor Edwards was asked about this session’s legalization effort during his monthly talk show Ask the Governor. He said legalization is likely going to happen within the next few years, but we need more information before moving ahead with recreational marijuana.
“We need to make sure that we need to study and learn all the lessons to be learned in those states that have legalized marijuana. The mistakes they made, what they got right, how we can minimize any adverse impact, how we can maximize any benefits,” said Edwards.
Despite voicing opposition to legalization as recently as earlier this year Edwards admitted his own opinion has begun to change.
“There’s a growing number of people who are sort of where I am, not quite comfortable yet but understanding that we are likely to get there in the next several years,” said Edwards.