The Louisiana legislature recently passed major reform regarding the criminal penalties for marijuana possession that went into effect on June 29, 2015.  These significant changes are set forth below.

 

2015 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 295 (H.B. 149) (WEST)

LOUISIANA 2015 SESSION LAW SERVICE

2015 Regular Session

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ACT NO. 295

H.B. No. 149

THE UNIFORM CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES LAW

BY REPRESENTATIVES BADON, BARROW, BOUIE, BURRELL, COX, EDWARDS, HONORE, HUNTER, JACKSON, JAMES, JEFFERSON, TERRY LANDRY, NORTON, PIERRE, SMITH, AND ALFRED WILLIAMS

AN ACT to amend and reenact R.S. 40:966(E) and (F), relative to the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law; to provide relative to penalties for possession of marijuana when the amount possessed is fourteen grams or less; to provide relative to penalties for possession of marijuana when the amount possessed is fourteen grams or more, but less than two and one-half pounds; to provide relative to a cleansing period for certain offenses; to provide relative to the possession of more than two and one-half pounds and less than sixty pounds of marijuana; and to provide for related matters.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:

Section 1. R.S. 40:966(E) and (F) are hereby amended and reenacted to read as follows:

<< LA R.S. 40:966 >>

§ 966 Penalty for distribution or possession with intent to distribute narcotic drugs listed in Schedule I; possession of marijuana, possession of synthetic cannabinoids, possession of heroin

* * *

E. (1) Possession of marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoids. (1) (a) Except as provided in Subsections E and Subsection F of this Section, on a first conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids the offender shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than six months, or both. punished as follows:

 

(i) On a first conviction, wherein the offender possesses fourteen grams or less, the offender shall be fined not more than three hundred dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than fifteen days, or both.

 

(ii) On a first conviction, wherein the offender possesses more than fourteen grams, the offender shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than six months, or both.

 

(iii) Any person who has been convicted of a violation of the provisions of Item (i) or (ii) of this Subparagraph and who has not been convicted of any other violation of a statute or ordinance prohibiting the possession of marijuana for a period of two years from the date of completion of sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence shall not be eligible to have the conviction used as a predicate conviction for enhancement purposes. The provisions of this Subparagraph shall occur only once with respect to any person.

 

(2)(a) (b) Except as provided in Subsection F or G of this Section, on a second conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids the offender shall be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars, nor more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, or both more than one thousand dollars, imprisoned in the parish jail for not more than six months, or both.

 

(b) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

(3) (c)(i) Except as provided in Subsection F or G of this Section, on a third or subsequent conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than twenty years, and may, in addition, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than five thousand dollars two years, shall be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or both.

 

(ii) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

(d)(i) Except as provided in Subsection F of this Section, on a fourth or subsequent conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than eight years, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

 

(ii) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

(4) (e) A Except as provided in Item (a)(iii) of this Paragraph, a conviction for the violation of any other statute or ordinance with the same elements as R.S. 40:966(C) Subsection C of this Section prohibiting the possession of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered as a prior conviction for the purposes of this Subsection relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenders.

 

(5) (f) A Except as provided in Item (a)(iii) of this Paragraph, a conviction for the violation of any other statute or ordinance with the same elements as R.S. 40:966(B)(3) Paragraph (B)(3) of this Section prohibiting the distributing or dispensing or possession with intent to distribute or dispense marijuana, of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered as a prior conviction for the purposes of this Subsection relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenders.

 

(2) Possession of synthetic cannabinoids. (a) Except as provided in Subsections F and G of this Section, on a first conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to synthetic cannabinoids, the offender shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

 

(b) Except as provided in Subsections F and G of this Section, on a second conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to synthetic cannabinoids, the offender shall be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, or both.

 

(c) Except as provided in Subsections F and G of this Section, on a third or subsequent conviction for violation of Subsection C of this Section with regard to synthetic cannabinoids, the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than twenty years, and may, in addition, be fined not more than five thousand dollars.

 

(d) A conviction for the violation of any other provision of law or ordinance with the same elements as Subsection C of this Section prohibiting the possession of synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered a prior conviction for the purposes of this Paragraph relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenses.

 

(e) A conviction for the violation of any other provision of law or ordinance with the same elements as Paragraph (B)(3) of this Section prohibiting the distributing or dispensing or possession with intent to distribute or dispense synthetic cannabinoids shall be considered a prior conviction for the purposes of this Paragraph relating to penalties for second, third, or subsequent offenses.

 

(f) If the court places the offender on probation, the probation shall provide for a minimum condition that he participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and perform four eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities. Any costs associated with probation shall be paid by the offender.

 

F. Except as otherwise authorized in this Part:

 

(1) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses two and one-half pounds or more, but less than sixty pounds of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment with or without hard labor of not less than two years, nor more than ten years, and to pay a fine of not less than ten thousand dollars nor more than thirty thousand dollars.

 

(2) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses sixty pounds or more, but less than two thousand pounds of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment at hard labor of not less than five years, nor more than thirty years, and to pay a fine of not less than fifty thousand dollars nor more than one hundred thousand dollars.

 

(2) (3) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses two thousand pounds or more, but less than ten thousand pounds of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment at hard labor of not less than ten years nor more than forty years, and to pay a fine of not less than one hundred thousand dollars nor more than four hundred thousand dollars.

 

(3) (4) Any person who knowingly or intentionally possesses ten thousand pounds or more of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids shall be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment at hard labor of not less than twenty-five years, nor more than forty years and to pay a fine of not less than four hundred thousand dollars nor more than one million dollars.

 

 

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