The Times Picayune: Bobby Jindal says he’ll sign medical marijuana, pot penalties legislation

Two bills originated in both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature seek the same method of reducing marijuana penalties. The bills, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon and state Sen. J.P. Morrell -- both Democrats from New Orleans, create a new penalty system for simple marijuana possession. A Dec. 19, 2014 file photo, shows a marijuana plant illuminated by grow lights at the 3D Dispensary, in Denver.(Photo by David Zalubowski, Associated Press)

Two bills originated in both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature seek the same method of reducing marijuana penalties. The bills, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon and state Sen. J.P. Morrell — both Democrats from New Orleans, create a new penalty system for simple marijuana possession. A Dec. 19, 2014 file photo, shows a marijuana plant illuminated by grow lights at the 3D Dispensary, in Denver.(Photo by David Zalubowski, Associated Press)

(Kevin Litten, The Times Picayune) – Gov. Bobby Jindal on Thursday said he plans to sign legislation that would change the state’s medical marijuana laws and soften penalties for marijuana offenders.

There are three bills moving through the state legislature affecting Louisiana’s marijuana laws. Two of them (SB 241) and (HB 149), which are nearly identical, would reduce the tough sentences judges are allowed to hand down for repeat marijuana offenses; reduce a second marijuana offense from felony to misdemeanor; and allow first-time convictions for simple possession to be erased after two years.

The bills also set up a simple possession charge for smaller amounts of marijuana and more serious charges that can be brought for larger amounts of marijuana that drug dealers and distributors typically possess.

The third bill sets up a framework for patients in need of medical marijuana treatment to be able to get the drug if a doctor prescribes it.

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