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Louisiana Senate Approves Bills Allowing For Marijuana Pardons And Decriminalizing Cannabis Paraphernalia

Senators in Louisiana decided this week to advance two separate pieces of cannabis-related criminal justice legislation after previously voting them down. The moves breathe new life into proposals that would decriminalize cannabis paraphernalia and make certain past marijuana convictions eligible for pardons by the governor.

Both measures, HB 165 and HB 391, passed out of the Senate on reconsideration votes Tuesday and next return to the House of Representatives to consider changes made to the bills by the opposite chambers.

HB 165, from Rep. Delisha Boyd (D), would limit the penalty for the possession, sale and use of marijuana paraphernalia to a $100 fine without the thread of jail time. Under existing law, cannabis paraphernalia carries a penalty of up to $300 and 15 days behind bars on the first offense, which increases on later offenses. A second conviction carries up to a $1,000 fine and imprisonment of not more than six months, while third and subsequent convictions carry fines of up to $2,500 and imprisonment “with or without hard labor” for up to two years.

HB 391, also sponsored by Boyd, would make people convicted of cannabis possession eligible for a pardon after paying all court costs associated with

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