Louisiana: Medical marijuana bill deserves support

State Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, will bring no shortage of firepower when he presents his amended medical marijuana bill to the House Committee on Health and Welfare on Wednesday morning, if facts, testimony, thoughtful compromise and momentum create firepower.

This bill ought to pass.

Mills, a pharmacist and former leader of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, should have the power of the facts on his side, as medical marijuana has been used with good effect in treating some specific ailments and maladies including epilepsy, nausea, headaches and “brain situations.”

It has been used to some good effect for people with HIV or AIDS, for pain treatment and spasticity.


Bill to reduce marijuana penalties in Louisiana passes full Senate

A proposal to soften Louisiana's harsh marijuana laws by reducing penalties for possession continues to gain steam in the Louisiana Legislature.

The Senate voted 27-12 Monday (May 25) to advance legislation that would create a new penalty system for marijuana possession dealing with amounts less than 2.5 pounds.


Louisiana: Mills to present medical marijuana bill to House panel this week

Medical marijuana in Louisiana may come a step closer to fruition this week, as State Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, presents his legislation Wednesday morning before the House Health and Welfare Committee on which he once served.

“I’m hoping for a repeat performance from the Senate,” said Mills, who practiced pharmacy for 15 years and once headed the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Mills’ Senate Bill 143 cleared the full Senate 22-13.

This year marks the second consecutive session in which Mills has attempted to persuade state lawmakers to back medical marijuana legislation. In 2014, the bill did not clear the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Changes have been made


High school English teacher in Louisiana arrested after passing out marijuana brownies to her ...

A Louisiana high school English teacher was arrested after giving two students brownies laced with marijuana.

Camille Brennan, 29, of New Orleans, turned herself in to St Tammany Parish authorities after they put out a warrant for her arrest on charges of distribution of marijuana and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Brennan had resigned her teaching post at the Archbishop Hannan High School, which costs more than $9,000 a year to attend, as she was investigated for the incident involving two young women pupils.

Camille Brennan, 29, of New Orleans, was arrested after allegedly giving marijuana brownies to two students at Archbishop Hannan High School


Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to Reform Marijuana Possession

Lawmakers in Louisiana took a major step toward reforming the state’s harsh marijuana possession law when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to reform the state’s harsh marijuana possession law. If passed, Louisiana would join the growing number of states that have recently reduced penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

“This is a long-sought opportunity to take a more compassionate and commonsense approach to marijuana,”  said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step."


Marijuana derivative 'wax' has NOPD on alert

NEW ORLEANS -- As the Louisiana Legislature considers relaxing jail time for marijuana possession, and other states legalize it entirely, a new form of the drug has recently surfaced on the streets of New Orleans.

Twice in the past six months, New Orleans police have encountered what is known on the street as "wax," a marijuana derivative so potent that some experts have warned about negative effects ranging from hallucinations to drug-induced psychosis.

The most recent case in New Orleans came on May 11 after a traffic stop in the French Quarter led to a seizure of marijuana, a bong and a strange resin-like substance wrapped in brown paper. One NOPD officer quickly recognized the sticky material as a new marijuana derivative known on the street as "wax."


Louisiana: Tip leads to marijuana cultivation arrest

Acting on a tip from Metro Narcotics in Ouachita Parish, Union Parish sheriff’s narcotics agents obtained a search warrant that resulted in an arrest for cultivation of marijuana.

Agents from the sheriff’s Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs booked Marc D. Arrant, 60, of 2046 Cypress Creek Road, Farmerville, into the parish detention center Wednesday for growing marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, illegal possession of firearms in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Louisiana marijuana law changes endorsed by House, headed to Senate

A proposal to reduce marijuana penalties for those convicted multiple times of possessing pot cleared the House floor Wednesday (May 13) in the Louisiana Legislature.

Current law allows for someone to be sentenced up to 20 years in prison for getting convicted three or more times with as little as one joint. Among the changes proposed in the legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, is a reduction of the maximum penalty from 20 years to eight. 

"It starts chipping away at Louisiana being the incarceration capital of the world," Badon said from the House floor, after his bill passed. 

The legislation now heads to the Senate after the House voted 53-36 to advance it.


How Louisiana's medical marijuana bill has evolved

State Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, sponsored the medical marijuana bill.(Photo: Leslie Westbrook, The Advertiser)

Vigorous debate in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and before the full upper chamber has sharpened the focus of a bill that would enable medical marijuana to be prescribed in Louisiana.

That’s how sponsor Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, sees things. Mills next will take Senate Bill 143 to the House Health and Welfare Committee, perhaps in a week. It’s a committee on which he served while a House member, and Mills expects to get a full and fair hearing for his legislation there.


Gov. Bobby Jindal says he has no objections to medical marijuana bill

Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday (May 8) said he has no objections to a medical marijuana bill moving through the state legislature, the first time he's commented on the specifics of the legislation.

Although Jindal, as he's done in the past, expressed support for some form of legislation allowing chronically ill patients to use marijuana therapeutically, he's warned the legislation must meet certain regulatory standards. A bill introduced by Sen. Fred Mills, R-New Iberia, appears to do that without any "glaring problems," Jindal said, though he said he wants "to reserve the right" to examine the bill in more detail.


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