Bill decreasing marijuana sentencing passes House committee

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – A House legal committee approved a bill that could lower the maximum sentence for repeat marijuana possession from 20 years to eight years.

But a measure to ask Louisiana voters if pot should be legal was widely opposed and withdrawn without debate.

Rep. Austin Badon, a New Orleans Democrat, says current marijuana sentences are “severe and egregious,” punishing people who are “hurting only themselves.”

His proposal to lessen sentences passed on a 10-4 vote and goes to the full House for consideration.

Rep. Dalton W. Honoré, a Baton Rouge Democrat, voluntarily withdrew his bill calling for an election on marijuana legalization. Honoré says times are changing and the Legislature needs to have a serious conversation about marijuana laws.

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