Louisiana Reps Be Passin’ Dat Cannabis Expungement Bill, Ya Heard?

Louisiana Reps Be Passin' Dat Cannabis Expungement Bill, Ya Heard?

Yo, what’s good? It’s ya boy Dan, coming at you with the latest news from Louisiana. The Louisiana House of Representatives recently passed a bill to improve the state’s expungement program for cannabis possession convictions. My girl Rep. Delisha Boyd sponsored the bill, and it passed with a solid 69-30 vote.

House Bill 286 is all about reducing the expungement fees for first-time offenders caught with Mary Jane. Boyd said she worked closely with the DA association, sheriffs, and clerks to get this bill into shape. And you know what? It’s all about justice and giving people the post-conviction relief they need and deserve. That’s what’s up!

The Louisiana House Democratic Caucus also posted about this bill on social media, showing their support. They know what’s good and what’s important for the people.

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But wait, there’s more! The bill was amended by House representatives to apply only to 14 grams or less and set a maximum fee of $300 for those convicted of misdemeanor offenses for cannabis possession. That means less money out of your pocket if you got caught smoking a little bit of herb.

And don’t worry, the collected processing fees will go where they’re supposed to go. The clerk will immediately direct it to the sheriff and district attorney, so everything is on the up and up.

HB-286 is moving forward in the Senate, so let’s hope it keeps going strong like a blunt in rotation. On May 24, it was read by title and placed on the calendar for a second reading, followed by a second reading on May 25 and a referral to the Committee on Judiciary C.

Now, let’s talk about another Louisiana bill that passed in a committee on May 23. This time it’s House Bill 351 sponsored by Rep. Mandie Landry. It made it through the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, which is known for making it hard to pass any bills through. Landry said that “nothing makes it out of the Labor Committee here”, but she showed them what’s good.

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HB-351 is all about protecting employees with medical cannabis cards by providing them with unemployment benefits if they were fired for testing positive for weed. That’s right, why should you lose your job just because you smoke a little weed? It’s legal, so why can’t you use it? Landry knows what’s up and said every person has the right to question their employers or the state about it.

But of course, there’s always opposition. They voiced concern about the liability for employers if an employee is under the influence while on the clock. One member even said that the bill isn’t the right solution and needs to be vetted more. Landry knows that a solution is needed now and argued that medical marijuana is legal and every person has a right to use it.

In April, two senators claimed they were misled when they voted to approve Senate Bill 219. They didn’t want to create a recreational THC market in Louisiana, but it happened anyway. That’s why HB-351 is so important, and we need to make sure it keeps moving forward.

Louisiana cannabis decriminalization went into effect along with 250 other laws in August 2021. This is an important step in modernizing marijuana policy in Louisiana and addressing our incarceration crisis. Peter Robins-Brown, policy and advocacy director at Louisiana Progress, knows it’s time to make sure everyone knows their rights under this new law and that law enforcement implements it properly.

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So there you have it, folks! Louisiana is making moves when it comes to cannabis policy, and we need to keep pushing for justice and equity. Let’s hope these bills keep moving forward and become law!

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