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Recreational marijuana legalization could be possible in Louisiana after a House committee passed a bill to legalize marijuana with bipartisan support.
The Louisiana House Committee voted 7-5 yesterday in favor of House Bill 524, which received the votes of two Republicans and five Democrats and will now make its way to the Senate.
Medical marijuana was first sold in Florida in 2019 after then Governor Bobby Jindal signed SB 143 into law in 2015, paving the way for medical marijuana treatments and dispensaries.
While it is certain that some Louisiana Republicans helped get the recreational marijuana bill through, the full House and Senate, and Governor John Bel Edwards, must support the bill to make it law.
This poses a major obstacle to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Louisiana, as the House and Senate have a Republican majority and Governor Edwards has already opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Although Louisiana’s governor signed a bill last year to expand prescribing regulations for medical marijuana in the state, he has said he does not want to legalize recreational marijuana.
But on what he would do if the bill reached his desk, Governor Edwards said:
As I almost always do, I will take the bill as soon as it comes across my desk and see what it says, Edwards said. I’m not going to speculate on that right now. But I’m very interested in this bill and what it says, especially if it extends to the fourth floor.
The bill was introduced by Republican Richard Nelson, 34, who says he has never smoked marijuana but believes the war on drugs has been a failure and has not stopped marijuana use.
He also cited the popularity of marijuana legalization as a motivating factor for the passage of H.B. 524, saying marijuana is more popular in Louisiana than Donald Trump.
Although it seems unlikely that Louisiana lawmakers will support the bill in the House and Senate, polls show that a majority of the state’s residents support the legalization of marijuana.
And, as we’ve reported over the past two weeks, polls from Quinnipiac and Pew show that a majority of Americans support legalizing cannabis.
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