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Gov. Landry vetoes bill that would have pardoned marijuana offenders

3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago Wednesday, June 26 2024 Jun 26, 2024 June 26, 2024 6:01 PM June 26, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Jeff Landry vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed him to pardon certain marijuana offenders for those caught in possession of small amounts, without needing a recommendation from the Parole Board. 

In his veto message, after explaining that he thought the bill was unnecessary and political in nature, Gov Landry said in part, “On behalf of Louisiana and her great people, I decline such an invitation and will continue to fight to strengthen our criminal justice system and the rule of law in Louisiana.”

President Joe Biden has already pardoned federal marijuana offenders, and many other states are following suit.

Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Paul Armentano was hopeful for the change.

"We do not believe that responsible individuals that use cannabis ought to be incarcerated, arrested, prosecuted for their use of a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol or tobacco," Armentano said.

Louisiana State University Law Associate Professor Ryan Stoa said this bill would have addressed a pattern of disproportionate enforcement.

“You know many of the convictions during the prohibition era, it’s been disproportionately enforced against low-income communities or communities of color. So, bringing it back to this bill you know, it was proposed in the legislature it would have allowed the governor to sort of look at the landscape and say alright so this is having a disproportionate impact so let me try to rectify that," Stoa said.

The bill, HB391, would have benefited those found with less than 14 grams of marijuana.

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