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Gov. Edwards’ Statement on Signing HB 652, Reducing the Penalty for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement today, upon signing House Bill 652 by Representative Cedric Glover, which reduces the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Gov. Edwards said:

“I have signed HB 652, which contrary to the narrative developed in the press and elsewhere, does not decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, 14 grams or less. Instead, anyone convicted of this crime will now be subject to a maximum penalty of $100 instead of being exposed to parish prison time.This is not a decision I took lightly. In addition to carefully reviewing the bill, I also believe deeply that the state of Louisiana should no longer incarcerate people for minor legal infractions, especially those that are legal in many states, that can ruin lives and destroy families, as well as cost taxpayers greatly. This measure passed Louisiana’s Legislature with bipartisan support following a robust discussion of the toll of over incarceration on our people and our state. Taking this action is another step forward for Louisiana’s criminal justice reform efforts.”