Louisiana Marijuana Laws

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Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In Iowa, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. (La. Rev. Stat. § 40:964.) However, despite being a Schedule I drug, Louisiana may allow medical marijuana use under limited circumstances. While not covered in this article, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Louisiana.

To learn about Louisiana's medical marijuana laws, see Louisiana Medical Marijuana Laws.

For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Louisiana, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Louisiana.

Marijuana Possession

It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess any amount marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Louisiana. (La. Rev. Stat. § 966(E).) Penalties vary according to whether the violation is a first or subsequent offense.

  • First conviction. Penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to six months in jail, or both.
  • Second conviction. Penalties include a fine of between $250 and $2,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
  • Third or subsequent conviction. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, up to 20 years in prison, or both.
  • Probation. The judge may order probation in lieu of or in addition to the penalties described above. If the judge orders probation, the defendant will be required to take part in a court-approved substance abuse program, and to complete four eight-hour days of community service. The offender will also be required to pay any costs associated with these activities.

Cultivation and Distribution

It is illegal to cultivate marijuana plants, or to distribute any amount of marijuana (or possess marijuana with the intent to do so) in Louisiana. Penalties vary according to the amount cultivated or possessed for sale, with additional penalties for selling to minors. Defendants who would otherwise be eligible for probation must first serve the minimum prison sentence described below before becoming eligible for probation. (La. Rev. Stat. § 966(F).)

  • Up to 60 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $50,000, between five and 30 years in prison, or both.
  • Between 60 and 2,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of between $50,000 and $100,000, between five and 30 years in prison, or both.
  • Between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of between $50,000 and $100,000, between ten and 40 years in prison, or both.
  • 10,000 pounds or more. Penalties include a fine of between $400,000 and $1,000,000, between 20 and 40 years in prison, or both.
  • Selling to a minor. Someone who sells marijuana to a minor who is at least three years younger than the seller may be punished with a double penalty. For example, selling less than 60 pounds of marijuana to a minor would incur a fine of up to $100,000, between ten and 60 years in prison, or both. 

Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal in Louisiana to distribute drug paraphernalia (or to possess or display paraphernalia with the intent to distribute it). Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties vary according to whether the violation is a first or subsequent offense. (La. Rev. Stat. § 1023.)

  • First conviction. Penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to six months in jail, or both.
  • Second conviction. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
  • Third or subsequent conviction. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both.

Does Louisiana Impose a Stamp Tax on Marijuana?

Yes. A stamp tax is a tax imposed on certain types of transactions (such as the transfer of property) that requires a stamp to be purchased and attached either to the item sold or to an instrument documenting the transaction (such as a deed). The federal government imposes stamp taxes on deeds, the issue and transfer of stocks and bonds, and on playing cards.

In Louisiana, those who buy, transport, or import marijuana into the state are required to pay a stamp tax and place the stamp (proof of payment) onto the contraband. However, because the possession of marijuana is illegal, people typically don’t pay the stamp tax. Those who are convicted for possession will also be liable for payment of the unpaid taxes ($200 for each gram or portion of a gram). (La. Rev. Stat. § 2601.)

The Value of Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

by: , Contributing Author

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