The United States has varying stances on the topic of marijuana throughout the country. Much like all politics, cannabis legalization is not a mere black or white issue. Some states are still criminalizing individuals for marijuana possession, while others have already legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana. Many states are still somewhere in the middle. Steps may have been taken to legalize cannabis usage, but it’s a long, complicated process that simply doesn’t happen overnight. The whole process from A to Z can take years. After all, good things take time, right? So what is marijuana “decriminalization,” and how does it differ from full legalization?
On Tuesday, May 4th, 2021, the Louisiana House of Representatives took a pretty important step toward the end goal of marijuana legalization. Louisiana currently has some strict laws prohibiting cannabis, which also include fines and potential jail time if individuals are caught with it. However, Louisiana’s latest legislative session approved a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession as long as it’s a half-ounce or less. Prior to passing this bill (House Bill 652 authored by state Rep. Cedric B. Glover [D – Shreveport]), individuals caught with marijuana would be criminalized, meaning they would have to pay fines at the very minimum, but also likely face jail time.