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Louisiana GOP lawmakers kill bill to decriminalize marijuana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bill to decriminalize marijuana in Louisiana was short-lived, swiftly dying in committee Tuesday before ever reaching the House floor for debate this legislative session.

Democratic state Rep. Candace Newell briefly argued that her bill to decriminalize the possession and distribution of marijuana would provide opportunity for economic gains in the Deep South state. The legislation would have been contingent upon the Legislature “providing for a statutory regulatory system for the legal sale and distribution of marijuana” and establishing a sales tax.

“We should not still be criminalizing people when in other states their economy is flourishing,” Newell said. To date, 22 states have passed laws legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee voted 9-4 along party lines to involuntarily defer the bill — effectively killing the legislation. None of the nine GOP lawmakers provided an

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