NEW ORLEANS — The new year brings about two dozen state laws voted on by the legislature and signed by Governor John Bel Edwards.

Louisiana laws governing everything from changes to income taxes to deductibles, to how police departments deploy body cameras have gone into effect.

Perhaps the most consequential is the allowance of smokable marijuana, or flower as it’s called, to be prescribed for medical purposes.

Ruston Henry of H & W Dispensary stated, “Raw flower is easier to process and the cost is significantly less.”

The raw flower grown by both LSU and Southern, along with a law passed last year to expand availability made for an active first day at our region’s dispensary.

“It’s been pretty busy. A little busier than normal because everybody has the rush over flowers available. People who couldn’t participate in the program before, now they can because of costs,” said Henry.

Also becoming effective is senate bill 34 stating that law enforcement agencies utilizing body cameras must have a policy for activation and deactivation. Alanah Odoms, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana says the legislation is a small step towards transparency.

According to Odoms, “What should be coming next are prescriptions around what happens if body camera footage is not properly turned over. What happens as far as consequences to the officers, things of that nature. So right now we’re just at the very beginning.”

And while the law also addresses dash cameras and chokeholds in policing, Odoms says more law enforcement reform is needed in order that we prevent cases like that of Ronald Green and the state police.

“What we’re talking about here is the next phase of accountability, and that has to look like a series of reforms that go along with body camera footage,” said Odoms.”