YOUNGSVILLE, La. (KLFY) – Law enforcement in Youngsville are voicing their opinion of new marijuana laws being implemented on Monday, August 1.  

The question comes from Act 473 stating odor of marijuana is no longer a probable cause to search a person’s home. This change comes two weeks after the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office made the biggest drug bust in their history after the odor of marijuana was coming from the car.

Youngsville Police Chief Rickey says the law could present problems with getting search warrants in regards to what constitutes a residence. “My questions to the legislators are since your vehicles are an extension of your home, does that negate the vehicle too?” 

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the number of road fatalities in Louisiana increased dramatically in 2021, which may have spurred lawmakers to support the passage of Act 478. The act prohibits smoking or vaping marijuana in vehicles while on state highways and roadways.

Boudreaux feels the change in the law is going to make the process of drug enforcement difficult for police, even take away their motivation to stop vehicles. “Other than seeing it in plain view, if you take the smell away as an avenue then really how are you going to catch them smoking or vaping in the car?”

Boudreaux says it complicates things for law enforcement and skews the risk in making a traffic stop. “ I think you’re starting to find more police officers leaning towards the way of why put myself at risk for a traffic stop when there’s not a whole lot of reason anymore. I’m not going to keep writing tickets over and over and over and take the risk of getting shot over a 100-dollar ticket,” says Boudreaux.