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Will the 2016 ballot ask Louisiana voters about pot legalization?

The debate concerning the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes has undergone a dramatic change over the last several years due to the success of voter-driven initiatives in states like Colorado, Washington and, most recently, Alaska.  

Indeed, people are now more receptive than ever to broaching the topic given the success of legalization in the aforementioned states, which have all seen a dramatic spike in revenue -- but not necessarily crime.

If you have a hard time believing this, consider that a recent survey conducted by LSU found that 79 percent of people in the Bayou State favored marijuana legalization in some form.

Furthermore, consider that at least one state lawmaker has now officially introduced a measure that would leave the issue of legalization up to voters.

Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) has sponsored legislation calling for the issue of whether people over 21 years of age should be able to carry and purchase marijuana free from the threat of prosecution to be put on the November 2016 ballot.

Interestingly, Honore has suggested that allowing voters to decide is perhaps the best way to fairly consider the legalization issue given that many of his fellow lawmakers have expressed support for legalization in private, yet also indicated that they could never cast a vote in its favor. However, he argued, they might be willing to compromise by voting for a measure leaving the decision to the people.  

In addition, Honore argued that the idea of legalization makes sense given the extent to which criminal charges associated with the drug have left lives shattered.

This makes perfect sense when you stop to consider that over 1,300 people were serving sentences for marijuana possession as of June 2013, and that the average sentence is as many as 8.4 years.

It will be interesting to see whether marijuana legalization makes it to the ballot and, if so, what Louisiana voters ultimately decide.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Marijuana legalization should be up to Louisiana voters, legislator says," Julia O'Donoghue, March 23, 2015

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Meet Attorney Guillory

Attorney Joshua S. Guillory was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. Upon graduating high school from Alexandria Senior High, he enrolled in classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Josh was a member of Mu Kappa Tau, a national honor society for marketing majors, while attending... Read More

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