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A Comic's View: Positive Steps Taken Towards The Legalisation Of Medicinal Marijuana

By Iñigo ‘Naughty’ Zenicazelaya

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel recently announced that marijuana legislation, once approved by Cabinet, will be introduced to Parliament before the end of the budget year.

Bethel also stated -

“We are trying to bring the bill to parliament before the end of the budget year.”

“Dame Anita Allen is working on the Law Reform Commission now to put all of the different suggestions that we think are going to be workable. Not everything suggested is workable at the present time into the redraft of the bill. That will then be submitted to me.”

The current administration is still in the consultative phase of the Medicinal Cannabis Bill and associated bills.

Also, I understand there is a draft that has been drawn up, but it is still necessary to consult further in relation to it being passed one way or another.

While all of these are positive steps in the right direction in regards to the legalisation of medicinal marijuana, I understand it’s an arduous process.

I’m still waiting for the conversation to shift to the legalisation of recreational marijuana and it’s decriminalisation.

It seems the conversation when it comes to these topics has gone silent.

While I wait on that, let me share the latest from Louisiana, where the state has become the latest to decriminalise possession of small amounts of marijuana, and hopefully it will remind the powers that be, that there is no legalisation of any kind without decriminalisation!

RAGIN’ CAJUN’S :

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill this past Tuesday that effectively decriminalises possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Under the measure, House Bill 652 the possession of up to 14 grams (half an ounce) of marijuana would be punished by only a fine of up to $100 on the first and second offence.

Minor marijuana possession offences would still be classified as misdemeanors, but would no longer carry the threat of incarceration.

The bill was approved last week by the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice in advance of this week’s floor vote.

The full House approved HB 652 on Tuesday with a vote of 67 to 25.

Rep. Cedric Glover who sponsored the bill received significant support from both his Democratic colleagues and members of the GOP majority.

CITY SMOKE :

New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport, have already taken action to reduce the penalties for low-level marijuana possession.

In New Orleans, penalties for a first cannabis possession offence are capped at a fine of only $40, while some city leaders are calling for the fine to be dropped even further to $1.

In 2018, Baton Rouge eliminated jail time as a possible penalty for possession of less than 14 grams of marijuana.

Instead, a fine of between $40 and $100 will be assessed, depending on the number of prior offences for a particular defendant.

FINGERS CROSSED :

HB 652 now heads to the Louisiana Senate for consideration.

If the measure is passed by the upper house of the state legislature, it would become law once signed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Anyway back to waiting on our AG, time to pour another.

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