Louisiana State Capitol

Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill Advances in Louisiana

Three Republicans agreed to push the legislation forward for a broader debate in the full House.

April 28, 2021

The Louisiana House Criminal Justice Committee advanced House Bill 524, which would establish the regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis in the state.

Republican Rep. Richard Nelson sponsored the bill, which passed in a 7-5 vote after an "impassioned" debate on April 27, The Advocate reported. Two additional Republicans and several Democrats supported the legislation, while mainly district attorneys and sheriffs opposed it.

Nelson said he believes the state’s cannabis prohibition is a failed experiment and needs to end, according to The Advocate. He also argued that legalizing and then regulating and taxing adult-use cannabis could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Louisiana—revenue that the state is currently missing out on.

But opponents of the legislation said that the potential revenue from legalizing and regulating cannabis would cause a host of other problems, like safety issues, KPEL reported.

The legislation still has a difficult journey before it becomes law. It must get approved by the Republican-dominated full House and Senate and Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who said he opposes adult-use cannabis, The Advocate reported.

However, the committee’s recent vote on the legislation indicates that opinions on cannabis are starting to change in the Louisiana legislature, as more conservatives are beginning to show support for legalization.