Louisiana is in the midst of a marijuana evolution that began accelerating with the first dispensing of legal medical cannabis to patients in 2019. It has continued with expansions to the medical program and new reforms to the state’s criminal laws.
The Legislature was particularly active with marijuana bills during its 2022 Regular Session with many of them becoming law this week.
Among the new cannabis laws enacted Aug. 1 are an expansion of approved marijuana pharmacies designed to improve access and affordability for patients, barring police from searching someone’s home based only on the smell of weed and making it illegal to drive while consuming cannabis.
Paul Armentano of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) called most of the new laws “common sense reforms providing further and sorely needed protections and freedoms for patients and others.”
Here’s a rundown of Louisiana’s new marijuana laws:
► Act 473 (House Bill 629) by Rep. Marcus Bryant, D–New Iberia, bars law enforcement from using marijuana odor as a pretext for searching someone’s home without a warrant.
Bryant said searching a home because an officer claims to smell marijuana is a violation of the Fourth Amendment preventing unreasonable searches.