Here's how opposing sides finally agreed on marijuana legislation
Published on May 27, 2015
Last year, the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association was publicly against every marijuana bill as a principle of thinking negatively of marijuana, and lawmakers have almost always sided with the sheriffs' association. It wasn't until the marijuana advocates aimed legislation at lesser sentencing that it became clear to the opposing side that legalization is not the main goal, but to keep a small marijuana offense from ruining a person's chances at a productive and full future.
Morrell's bill (SB 241) would reduce a second-time offender's charges from felony status to misdemeanor, and it contains a key second-chance provision that allows a first-time marijuana conviction to be expunged if the person keeps their nose clean for two years. A similar bill (HB 149) in the state House of Representatives introduced by Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, was later amended to contain the same reforms.