House Rejects Louisiana Recreational Marijuana Bill
The House has rejected a bill that would tax the usage of recreational marijuana in Louisiana. The vote landed at 47-48 against the bill. The legislation would have needed a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
The house bill (House Bill 524) was authored by State Rep. Richard Nelson of Mandeville. And the bill advanced from the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice on a 7-5 vote.
After several delays in the House vote, and severe opposition from law enforcement, the bill is now likely dead. The biggest opponent for recreational use was Rep. Brian Fontenot of Thibodaux along with the backing of the Louisiana Sheriff's Association.
State Rep. Richard Nelson of Mandeville had this to say:
“The truth is right now all this money? We have zero. It’s nothing, it’s all going to the drug dealers,” said Nelson. “If we don’t pass this bill it’s going to go to the drug dealers this year, it’s going to go to the drug dealers next year, it’s probably going to go to the drug dealers the year after that.”
Nelson went on to try and get in law enforcement's good graces saying 20 percent of all cannabis revenue would go to local law enforcement, But the Sheriff's Association did not change their mind on the subject. Brian Fontenot added:
“This bill doesn’t just fail you and I this bill fails the state of Louisiana, I ask you to vote no,”
The House has voted to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, and more medical marijuana options may be on the horizon for Louisiana as well.