Pot Legalization up for Debate in the House
Legislation that would fully legalize recreational marijuana is set to be heard in the House Monday.
House Criminal Justice’s 7-5 approval of the bill was a shock to many. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillon said there’s real momentum behind this bill’s historic visit to the House floor, and this is the most success any legalization effort has had in Baton Rouge.
Couvillon said his polling shows 68 percent of Louisianans now support full legalization, but that popular desire is going to run up against legislative inertia and opposition from key constituencies like sheriffs and DAs.
Supporters argue legalization could raise as much as 200 million dollars a year in state revenue. Opponents argue it will lead to increased marijuana consumption. Governor Edwards has backtracked on his previous opposition to legalization. He says he won’t make a decision until a bill hits his desk.
Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat said even if 60 to 70 percent of the public says they want legalization that 30 to 40 percent who are opposed are an important voting block for Republicans.
“Everybody may be for it but the people who are against it might be a big part of your base,” said Pinsonat.
Legislation allowing for smoke-able medical marijuana has received little to no opposition so far this session.
*A previous version of this story mentioned the bill would allow for a statewide legalization vote. That is no longer the case and the current version of the legislation would legalize recreational marijuana entirely.
Fun Jobs That Actually Pay Pretty Well