Make no mistake about it: Louisiana marijuana laws are among the strictest in the country. While some other states have taken the lead and experimented with marijuana legalization and decriminalization, marijuana remains largely banned in Louisiana. Though the Legislature legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 1991, there's no mechanism in current law that allows for the legal dispensing of the drug. Doctors can legally prescribe it, patients can legally use it, but there is no middle man.
Indeed, Louisiana lawmakers have defeating marijuana legislation left and right. In April 2014, a Senate committee quashed the best shot of setting up a medical marijuana industry in the state. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee killed a bill that would have set up the tightest law in the United States regulating the prescription, dispensing and use of marijuana for medical purposes. That same month, another Louisiana Senate Committee killed a bill that would have reduced penalties for marijuana possession.
Current Louisiana state law penalizes first-time possession of any amount of marijuana up to 60 pounds with a $500 fine and six months in jail (a misdemeanor), a $2,500 fine and five years in jail for a second offense (a felony) and a third conviction can bring a $5,000 fine and a 20-year jail term (a felony). Many say the law is enforced unevenly, however, since law enforcement agents and prosecutors handpick which repeat offenders get charged with felonies.
Louisiana Marijuana Statutes
Drug laws can differ from state to state and that’s especially true for state marijuana laws. Learn more about Louisiana marijuana laws in the table below.
|Code Section||§40:961, et seq.|
|Possession||Up to 6 mos. in parish jail and/or up to $500; Second conviction of this amount: up to 5 yrs. and/or up to $2000; Subsequent convictions: up to 20 yrs; 60-2000 lbs.: 10-60 yrs. hard labor and $50,000 to $100,000; 2000-10,000 lbs.: 20-80 yrs. hard labor and $100,000 to $400,000; Over 10,000 lbs.: 50-80 yrs. hard labor and $400,000 to $1,000,000|
No matter what a state’s marijuana laws says, marijuana sale and possession is illegal under the Controlled Substance Act. Where federal and state law clash, federal law always trumps. To date, federal law enforcement agencies haven’t shown an interest prosecuting minor marijuana cases in Colorado and Washington, where recreational use is permitted. But that doesn’t mean the federal government has given up on enforcing restrictions on everything from the manufacturing and cultivation to the trafficking and distribution, as well as the possession of marijuana.
Related Resources for Louisiana Marijuana Laws:
State drug laws can change frequently, and their enforcement can vary depending on your specific circumstances. If you need legal assistance with a drug case, you can contact a Louisiana criminal defense attorney. You can also conduct more of your own research in FindLaw’s drug charges section.
Contact a qualified attorney.