State lawmakers advanced four bills Tuesday that are aimed at curbing penalties for marijuana possession, the latest effort to soften Louisiana’s historically harsh stance on the drug.
The proposals, referred Tuesday to the full Senate by the Senate’s Judiciary C committee, are aimed at those who use marijuana at their doctor’s recommendation and those who use it recreationally. The latter use is still illegal in the state.
One, House Bill 775, would allow medical cannabis patients to carry pipes, bongs and other paraphernalia. Another, House Bill 1028, would decriminalize the possession of paraphernalia for non-patients, making it a maximum $50 fine, similar to a law passed by legislators last year eliminating the possibility of jail time for pot possession.
House Bill 629 would bar police from searching residents’ homes simply because those homes smell of marijuana, which lawmakers described as solidifying current law. And House Bill 774 would allow people convicted for small-time weed possession to expunge their records six months after conviction, instead of the current five years.
State Rep. Cedric Glover, D-Shreveport, who sponsored most of the measures, said the legislation is “appropriate” considering lawmakers passed a law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, and allowed medical marijuana patients to use smokable flower, last year. [Read more at The Advocate]