Starting August 1st, Louisiana is making serious progress in terms of cannabis legislation. The Pelican State signed a bill into law just a few months ago that decriminalizes low levels of marijuana. Somehow, though, this decision went practically unnoticed by the rest of the country, despite the positive impact it will have. That’s why, today, we’re talking all about the decriminalization of marijuana in Louisiana, what it means, and how so many other states can follow suit. 

If you’re interested in learning more about medical marijuana in Louisiana, check out our state FAQ page or latest blog post. 

What Does Decriminalization Mean?

When people hear about decriminalization, they often get it confused with legalization. However, this couldn’t be more inaccurate, as decriminalization and legalization mean two completely different things. Legalization of marijuana means that the state permits all forms (or certain forms) of cannabis for consumption for those over a certain age or with proper licenses. Essentially, there are no more legal barriers surrounding marijuana once a state legalizes it. 

Decriminalization, on the other hand, means that the state won’t persecute residents for specific amounts of marijuana. For example, you won’t go to jail for having an eighth of bud on you anymore; although, cannabis remains illegal overall. Decriminalization doesn’t equal legalization — it just allows some leeway. 

Today, a whopping 27 states have decided to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, allowing the criminal disparages of marijuana arrests to finally reduce. (Though, we still have an embarrassingly long way to go.)

decriminalization of marijuana in louisiana

The Decriminalization of Marijuana in Louisiana & How it Affects The State

In mid-June of 2021, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis. This decision makes it so that the possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a simple fine of $100. Sometimes, it may result in a court summons; however, you will not go to jail. 

The bill went into effect on August 1st, giving residents all across LA a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. 

Simply put, not everybody has access to cannabis the way they should. Because of this, people will always find ways to get marijuana if they want it, putting them at risk by the law. Arguably, you can say that this isn't ethical. But, at Elevate Holistics, we believe the lack of access to medical cannabis is unethical (but we’ll talk about our role here, later). 

The decriminalization of marijuana in Louisiana may change the lives of the state’s residents, as we’ve seen it done in states prior. Governor John Bel Edwards explains

“This is not a decision I took lightly. In addition to carefully reviewing the bill, I also believe deeply that the state of Louisiana should no longer incarcerate people for minor legal infractions, especially those that are legal in many states, that can ruin lives and destroy families, as well as cost taxpayers greatly.”

Decriminalization & A Brighter, Greener Future? 

State Representative Cedric Glover was one of the bill’s most prominent supporters. Being the first Black man to hold this position in LA, Glover experienced firsthand the unjust racial disparities that cannabis brought to BIPOC communities. With this, he was determined to change this pace in his state. 

“Criminalizing marijuana possession is harmful to the people of Louisiana in so many ways, but it’s been particularly harmful for Black and Brown communities, lower-income folks, and young people,” Glover states. “My fervent hope is that this new law will finally bring some relief and a feeling of freedom to those communities.”

There’s no denying that the legalization of marijuana would, ultimately, be the best choice for American citizens — especially those who have been directly impacted by the War on Drugs. However, the decriminalization of marijuana in Louisiana — and the other 20+ states — is still a significant first step. 

As we’ve seen through failed legalization proposal after failed proposal, the federal government isn’t entirely on board with legalizing cannabis just yet. However, the idea of decriminalization may be mild enough to appeal to the skeptics. Clearly, we’ve seen this concept work in states across the country, starting with Oregon all the way back in 1973. C’mon, guys, it’s been nearly 50 years. Can’t we just decriminalize weed already?

Of course, decriminalizing weed would mean a brighter, greener future for the cannabis community and everyone who is involved. There’s a high likelihood it would lower crime rates, impact the influence of the Black Market, and help reduce the numbers of Black Americans in jail held unfairly. But, this kind of change brings a lot of pushback from government officials, leaving us to celebrate these small steps — like the one LA just took. 

Elevate Holistics, Louisiana, and The Decriminalization of MMJ

So, why are we talking about the decriminalization of marijuana in Louisiana? Elevate Holistics will make getting your LA medical card so much easier in just a few short months. Soon, our online medical card recommendation services will be available to all Louisiana residents, regardless of where you live.

Elevate Holisitics’ whole goal is to provide MMJ access to those who need it most. Our services are always entirely online, and appointments take only 30 minutes. Not to mention, you can get your MMJ card recommendation for as low as $75. So, even though Louisiana may have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, Elevate Holistics makes it easier to consume your MMJ 100% legally. 

We’ll keep you updated on when Elevate’s services finally hit the Louisiana weed market. But, until then, you’re not out of luck! You can head on over to friends at Heally and get your medical card through them, instead. They operate using a similar online program as ours, allowing you to get your MMJ card effortlessly and in the comfort of your home. Decriminalized or not, getting your medical card online is always the way to go.