times-picayune

Louisiana: Fishermen Find Brick of Marijuana On Beach

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Capt. Theophile Bourgeois and his clients on Friday discovered a brick of cannabis while walking along an island beach in the Chandeleur chain off the Louisiana coast.

"It was half in the sand, right up on then beach," Bourgeois said, reports Todd Masson at The Times-Picayune. "My clients were like, 'What do you think it is?' I said, 'I'd bet my left nut what that is.' It was dark; I knew it wasn't cocaine. I said, 'That's weed.'"

They used to be called "square groupers" -- the stray bales of marijuana that occasionally washed up on the Gulf Coast, by-products of a thriving black market that brought weed into the U.S. via the Caribbean.

The anglers cut open the brick to check, and Capt. Bourgeois' suspicions were confirmed. "It was solid seeds and stems," he said. "It stunk. It was skunk weed."

The cannabis was very compressed, according to Bourgeois, and he estimated the weight of the brick as between 15 and 20 pounds. It appeared to have been lost at sea for awhile. "It was old and waterlogged," Bourgeois said.

"It was on the bay side, which meant it made its way through current and came around," he said. "It looked pretty damned old."

Louisiana: Senate Approves Medical Marijuana; Bill Headed To House

FredMillsLouisianaSenate[EmilyLane-TimesPicayune]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Louisiana Senate on Monday approved legislation which would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis. Senate Bill 143, which spells out how the state's medical marijuana industry would work, was approved on a 22-13 vote.

If the bill is approved by the Louisiana House, patients with a doctor's authorization could obtain cannabis in non-smokable form at one of 10 dispensaries across the state, reports Emily Lane at the Times-Picayune. The bill passed on Monday approves one growing site.

SB 143, sponsored by Sen. Fred Mills (R-New Iberia), would restrict the use of "CBD only" medicinal cannabis in non-smokable forms to patients with glaucoma, spastric quadriplegia and for those undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

The Louisiana Legislature legalized medical marijuana in 1978 and then again in 1991, but neither bill allowed for legal dispensing of the herb; the Department of Health and Hospitals was supposed to write rules for dispensing it nearly a quarter century ago, but never did.

Three state agencies would have rule-making authority under Mills' bill: the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners would set rules about doctors' authorizations; the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy would set rules about dispensaries; and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture would set rules for the single grow site.

Louisiana: Residents' Tolerant Views On Marijuana Not Reflected By Harsh State Laws

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Louisiana residents have a much more relaxed and tolerant approach toward marijuana than is reflected by their state's harsh laws, according to a statewide survey conducted by Louisiana State University this winter.

The university asked about three different marijuana polices, reports Julia O'Donoghue at The Times-Picayune.

First of all, the survey found that a majority of Louisianans oppose legal marijuana for personal use. Fifty-two percent of state residents still oppose legalizing cannabis for recreational use, but the gap between those who don't want to legalize and those who support it -- at 45 percent -- is shrinking.

In 2013, 56 percent said they opposed legalization, and 42 percent said they supported it, a gap of 14 points. Now, that gap has shrunk to just a seven-point difference.

Young adults ages 18-29 in Louisiana support legal marijuana, with 68 percent supporting and 32 percent opposed.

One state lawmaker has filed legislation to put possession, distribution and dispensing of cannabis on the Louisiana ballot on November 8, 2016. Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) said voters should get to decide whether pot becomes legal.

Secondly, the survey found that most Louisiana residents support medical marijuana. Sixty percent support medicinal pot, but for some reason that number has shrunk since last year, when 79 percent said they supported it.

Louisiana: Voters Could Decide On Marijuana Legalization Next Year

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Louisiana lawmaker has proposed putting marijuana legalization on the Presidential election ballot next year for a statewide vote.

Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) has filed a bill, HB 117, to put possession, distribution and dispensing of cannabis and its derivatives on the Louisiana ballot November 8, 2016, reports Julia O'Donoghue at The Times-Picayune. Voters would be deciding not just the Presidential race, but also Congressional seats that day.

In a Louisiana State University survey last year, 79 percent of Louisianans indicated support for some form of marijuana legalization. If Honore's initiative got on the ballot and passed, people 21 and older would be able to possess and buy cannabis without criminal charges.

"If I can get it to the people, it will pass with flying colors," Honore said.

According to Honore, criminal charges for marijuana have already ruined too many lives in Louisiana. As of June 2013, 1,372 Louisianans were serving prison sentences for simple cannabis possession. The average marijuana sentence in Louisiana is 8.4 years; more than 78 percent of these offenders are African American.

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