Louisiana House panel advances bill to legalize recreational marijuana


FILE – This April 6, 2018, file photo shows the leaves of a marijuana plant inside Ultra Health’s cultivation greenhouse in Bernalillo, N.M. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

BATON ROUGE, La (Daily Advertiser) — A bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Louisiana advanced from a House committee Tuesday for the first time ever after three Republicans on the panel agreed to move the measure forward for a wider debate.

Mandeville Republican Rep. Richard Nelson’s House Bill 524 to legalize weed cleared the House Criminal Justice Committee on a 7-5 vote and advances to the full House.

A second bill by New Orleans Democratic Rep. Candace Newell to decriminalize marijuana (House Bill 243) also cleared the committee Tuesday.

Medical marijuana is already legal in Louisiana with efforts to expand that program also gaining momentum. Last week the full House approved a bill by Pro-tem Tanner Magee, R-Houma, to add smokable marijuana to the state’s medical program.

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