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Louisiana Marijuana Law

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Penalty Details

Marijuana is a schedule I(C) hallucinogenic substance under Louisiana law.

Possession for Personal Use

For first offenders, possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $300 and/or up to 15 days of imprisonment.

For first offenders, possession of more than 14 grams but less than 2 ½ pounds of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 6 months of imprisonment.

There is a one-time two-year cleansing period for first time convictions.

All second convictions regarding less than 2 ½ pounds are punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or up to 6 months of imprisonment.

All third convictions regarding less than 2 ½ pounds are punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to 2 years of imprisonment.

All fourth convictions regarding less than 2 ½ pounds are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 8 years of imprisonment.

See

  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:966(E) 

Possession of 2 ½ – less than 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by 2 -10 years of imprisonment and a fine of $30,000.

Possession of 60 – less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana is a felony and is punishable by 5-30 years of imprisonment and a fine of $50,000-$100,000. Possession of 2,000 – less than 10,000 pounds is a felony and is punishable by 10-40 years of imprisonment and a fine of $100,000-$400,000. Possession of 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana is a felony and is punishable by 25-40 years of imprisonment.

See

  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:966(F) 

Distribution or Cultivation of Marijuana

Distribution of marijuana includes possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.

See

  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:966(A) 

Distribution or cultivation of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and 5-30 years of imprisonment. Subsequent offenses are punishable by 10-60 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. Prior offenses include any drug crime convictions, no matter where they occurred. If the defendant is 18 or older and is selling to a minor under the age of 18 who is at least 3 years younger than the defendant a maximum term of 45 years may be imposed for first offenders or 90 years for subsequent offenders. Distributing marijuana to an elementary, middle, or high school student is punishable by a maximum term of 45 years imprisonment for first offenders and up to 90 years imprisonment for subsequent offenses. For first offenders a fine of up to $100,000 may also be imposed. For subsequent offenders a fine of $200,000 may be imposed. Soliciting a minor to distribute marijuana is punishable for first offenders by 45 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. For subsequent offenders imprisonment for up to 90 years and a fine of up to $200,000 may be imposed.

See

  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:966(B)(3)
  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:982
  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:981(C) 
  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:981.1
  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:981.2 

Hash & Concentrates

Louisiana classifies both plant-form Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinols, including Hashish and Marijuana Concentrates, in schedule I of the Louisiana Controlled Substances Schedule. For the purposes of criminal justice, the statute defines Marijuana as including tetrahydrocannabinols and derivatives thereof. The penalties for offenses involving tetrahydrocannabinols and derivatives thereof have the same penalties as for plant-form Marijuana.

See

  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. §40:964(C)(19), (27) 
  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. §40-961(25)
  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. §40-966(E)

Miscellaneous

Violation in a Drug Free Zone

Possession, distribution, or cultivation of marijuana within 2,000 feet of a drug free zone is punishable by 1.5 times the maximum sentence allowed for the underlying offense. A drug free zone includes: Elementary schools, high schools, colleges or universities, playgrounds, drug treatment facilities, religious buildings, public housing, and child care centers.

See

  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 40:981.3
Driver’s license privileges

Whenever any person who has attained the age of 19 is convicted of any crime, offense, violation, or infraction involving the possession, use, or abuse of one or more controlled dangerous substances, the court… shall issue an order of denial of driving privileges for not less than 30 days but not more than 1 year.

See

  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 32:430(2)
DRUGGED DRIVING

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold.

MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. 

TAX STAMPS

This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. For more information, see NORML’s report Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws And Penalties.

Louisiana Drugged Driving

In Louisiana a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 14:98 (A)(1)(c) (2010).

Implied Consent

  • Any person, regardless of age, who operates a motor vehicle upon the public highways of Louisiana shall be deemed to have given consent, to a chemical test or tests of his blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his blood, and the presence of any abused substance or controlled dangerous substance. Id. §§ 32:661-2.
  • In all criminal cases where intoxication is an issue, any certificate or writing made with respect to the chemical analyses of a person’s blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance, shall be admissible as evidence. Id. § 32:662.1.
  • After submitting to the chemical test, the driver at their own expense may have a qualified person of his own choosing administer additional chemical tests. The cost of any such additional test shall be at the expense of the tested person. The inability of the driver to obtain additional tests shall not preclude the admission of the test(s) taken at the direction officer, unless the driver was denied rights guaranteed to him by law. Id. § 32:664.

Penalties

  • First offense misdemeanor – fine of $300-$1,000 (plus fees); jail for a period of 10 days to 6 months (all jail time can be suspended); 32 hours of community service; substance abuse programs; license suspension for 90 days. Id. § 14:98(B)(1).
  • Second Offense misdemeanor – fine of $750-$1,000 (plus fees); jail for a period of 30 days to 6 months (all but 48 hours of jail time can be suspended); 240 hours community service; substance abuse evaluation; license suspension for 1 year. Id. § 14:98(C)(1).
  • Third offense felony – mandatory $2,000 fine; jail for a period of 1 to 5 years (all but 1 year of jail time can be suspended); substance abuse class; possible seizure and sale of the vehicle being operated; driver’s license suspension for 2 years. Id. § 14:98(D)(1).
  • Fourth offense felony – mandatory $5,000 fine; jail for 10 to 30 years (all but 2 years of jail time can be suspended); possible vehicle seizure and sale of the vehicle being operated at the time of arrest with the proceeds forfeited to the state; license suspension 2 years; mandatory psychological testing. Id. § 14:98(E).

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • Child Endangerment – mandatory minimum sentences are imposed if a child 12 years of age or younger was a passenger in the vehicle when the defendant was arrested. Id. § 14:98(J).
Child Endangerment Mandatory Minimums, as per Id. § 14:98(J).
DWI First Offense 10 days in jail
DWI Second Offense 30 days in jail
DWI Third Offense 1 year in jail
DWI Fourth Offense 10 years in jail

Sobriety Checkpoints

In Louisiana, sobriety checkpoints are upheld under the state Constitution.

The Louisiana Constitution does not prohibit use of checkpoints, so long as guidelines are carefully constructed so as to provide a minimum interference with individual rights. Under constitutional balancing test, checkpoints are valid when conducted pursuant to neutral guidelines limiting discretion of field officer, and state has legitimate interest in deterring drivers from taking to roads without insurance or under the influence of alcohol/drugs. State v. Jackson, 764 So.2d 64 (La. 2000).

Case Law

State v. Parry, 985 So.2d 771 (2008) — In order to convict, the state need only prove that the defendant was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Louisiana Tax Stamps

Stamp
State Code §47:2601-47:2610
Tax Rate $3.50/gram if owner possesses 42.5 grams or more
Penalty for Nonpayment (Civil and Criminal ) 200% of tax and up to $10k or 5 years prison or both
Additional Information

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