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Bill aims to decrease penalties for marijuana possession

Many Baton Rouge citizens are likely aware of the severe penalties handed down by the courts to those convicted of drug charges. It is all too common for individuals to have received long sentences for possession of marijuana or other illicit substances. In fact, it has been possible that an individual with repeated arrests for possession of small quantities of marijuana could be sentenced to spend as much as 20 years in jail.

But it appears lawmakers of Louisiana have seriously reconsidered the necessity of such excessive punishment for marijuana possession. To this end, the state recently passed a proposal for a law that would greatly reduce the maximum penalties for some marijuana possession convictions.

Under the bill, an individual convicted of possessing under 14 grams of marijuana could receive a 15 day jail term. Those convicted of possession of less than 2.5 pounds of the drug could receive up to six months in jail. Maximum punishment for later marijuana offenses would decrease from a 20 year to an eight year prison sentence.

The measure is supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who stated he would sign the bill into law. But while the state is poised to relax marijuana laws, possession is still illegal. This means an arrest and conviction can still have a negative impact on your life.

If you have been arrested for drug possession, it is important to protect your long-term interests. This means weighing out all of your legal options to determine which one may offer the best possible outcome.

A Louisiana criminal defense attorney may be able to help you do just that. The attorney could investigate your arrest and if your rights were violated in the process, you may be able to request a dismissal or charge reduction.

Source: Sun Herald, "Lawmakers vote to lessen Louisiana marijuana penalties," Melinda Deslatte, June 8, 2015

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