Louisiana Bill, HB 434, to Tax Potential Recreational Cannabis Fails in Congress

Louisians will likely have to wait at least another year before the state legalizes marijuana after HB 434 was rejected in legislature Tuesday.

According to local TV station and news source WDSU, the proposed legislation would have “taxed recreational marijuana if the state had ever legalized it,” but the bill was rejected in the State House by a margin of 48-47. WDSU said the outcome “likely doomed the prospect of legalized marijuana in the state this year” and “likely doomed legalized weed approval next year as well, as tax bills cannot be brought up in 2022, since it is not a tax meeting. ” then.”

Under the proposed legislation, HB 434, the state would have “taxed the sale of marijuana at 50 percent, with half going to the state general fund and half to local governments,” according to the WDSU, with another 20 percent going to local governments Proceeds go to law enforcement.

Proponents of HB 434 claimed that legalizing recreational marijuana could be a massive godsend for the state, with some forecasting up to $ 100 million in tax revenue annually.

There is also reason to believe that Louisiana voters are ready to accept legalization. A poll released earlier this year found that 67 percent of voters in the state support the legalization of pot – a 13 point increase from last year.

Beyond HB 434

Louisiana officially green-lit a medical marijuana program back in 2015, but it wasn’t launched until 2019. Last year, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill that significantly expanded the state’s medical cannabis program.

As part of the extension, any patient with a debilitating condition that has been assessed by a doctor could be eligible for medical cannabis treatment. Previously, eligibility was limited to a number of severely debilitating conditions, including Parkinson’s, cancer, PTSD, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other seizure disorders.

However, proponents are quick to point out that the state’s medical cannabis program is still fraught with a number of limitations.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Louisiana “restricts the permitted forms of cannabis – prohibition of the whole plant (flower) and smoking,” and the state has only two state-licensed breeders and only nine licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

In an interview this week, Democrat Edwards said his views on legalization have changed over time, and he believes ending the ban in the state is a matter of “when” rather than “if”.

“I have come to believe that legalization will eventually take place in Louisiana,” said Edwards. “We have to study it and learn all the lessons from other states that have legalized it.

He added, “I’m not entirely comfortable just yet … I want to make sure we’re getting it right.” This is a notable change for Edwards, who previously flatly said he was against legalizing marijuana.

Should Louisiana take this step, it would follow the lead of Virginia, which earlier this year became the first state in the south to end the ban on the use of recreational pots.

Democrat Ralph Northam, governor of Virginia, hailed the new law as a step towards “building a more just and just Virginia and reforming our criminal justice system to make it fairer.”

“What this really means is that people will no longer be arrested or punished for simple possession that follows them and affects their lives,” Northam said after the legislation was signed. “We know that marijuana laws in Virginia and across the country have been disproportionately enforced against color communities and low-income Virginians.”

Earlier this month, Louisiana legislature approved a bill decriminalizing marijuana in the state. Under the new law, possession of up to 14 grams of weed on the first and second offenses would be punishable by a fine of up to $ 100, while minor misconduct would be classified as an offense only and would never result in being behind bars.

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