In 2020, marijuana possession is legal in 12 US states plus Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, Louisiana isn’t one of them.
Louisiana does have a medical marijuana program. Yet, barring patients with a physician-approved prescription, anyone else in Louisiana found in possession of cannabis or its derivatives is breaking the law.
If you’ve recently been convicted of cannabis possession, you may be wondering what’s in store for you. That’s why we created this ultimate guide to marijuana possession laws and penalties in Louisiana. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
Marijuana Possession Is Illegal in Louisiana
Louisiana’s Uniformed Controlled Dangerous Substances Law classifies five categories of illegal drugs. These categories are known as Schedules. Schedule one drugs incur the most penalties and Schedule five drugs the least.
Cannabis or marijuana is classified as a Schedule one drug in Louisiana. This includes any part of the cannabis plant, including resins, seeds, and extracts. Hemp seed oil and hemp stalk fibers are exempt from this definition.
The Medical Marijuana Exception
Medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana. Current qualifying conditions include severe conditions like cancer, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS. However, Louisiana doctors can legally prescribe medical marijuana for any condition if they think it will be beneficial.
Medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to possess cannabis as long as they have a prescription. They must only have 30-days worth of supply at one time and this supply must consist of non-smokable products.
What About CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a product that comes from legal hemp. Legal hemp is defined as any cannabis plant that is grown with less than 0.3% THC by concentration.
Since CBD comes from marijuana, that begs the question: can you get in trouble for CBD possession?
As of 2019, CBD is legal to sell and possess in Louisiana. However, there are limits. You can possess CBD oil and CBD capsules, but you can’t possess smokable CBD flower or food and beverages containing CBD.
What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession?
In Louisiana, an offender’s first marijuana possession charge is usually a misdemeanor. Depending on how much weed you’re found in possession of, the second conviction may also be a misdemeanor.
However, if you commit a third cannabis possession offense, you could have to serve time in prison.
Keep in mind that each of these convictions also applies to possession of synthetic cannabinoids. Possession of synthetic marijuana can also act as a prior offense, meaning getting caught with real weed the second time would act as a second conviction. That is why you want to get the first possession charge dismissed instead of just paying the ticket for it.
Possession of fewer than fourteen grams has different penalties than having more than fourteen grams.
The former will cost you up to a $500 fine, up to fifteen days of jail time, or both. The latter will cost you up to a $500 fine, up to six months in jail, or both.
Upon a second arrest for marijuana possession, Louisiana can legally fine you no more than $1000. The state can also sentence you to jail for no more than six months.
A third marijuana possession charge in Louisiana can cost you two years in prison, up to a $2500 fine, or both. Additionally, third-time offenders must go through a substance abuse program and complete community service hours upon probation.
The substance abuse program and the community service activity has to be court-approved. The offender must complete at least 32 hours of community service.
A fourth conviction in Louisiana can earn you some serious prison time. You can be sentenced to prison for up to eight years. Plus, you may also be responsible for up to a $5000 fine.
Fourth convictions also usually come with a probationary period. You’ll have to attend substance abuse programs and complete at least 32 hours of community service.
How Much Is Too Much?
In some states, the law specifies how much cannabis you can possess before it’s a felony. Louisiana is different. Here, you can get popped for having as little as a gram and the penalties increase if you possess sixty or more pounds.
Possession of Two and a Half to Sixty Pounds of Marijuana
If you’re found in possession of between two and a half pounds and sixty pounds of cannabis, you face increased fines and jail time.
You can serve between two and ten years in prison for possession of up to sixty pounds of marijuana. The fine also increases to no less than $10,000 but no more than $30,000.
Possession of Sixty to Two Thousand Pounds of Marijuana
Having between sixty and two thousand pounds of weed can score you at least five and up to thirty years behind bars. The fine for this category of possession is at least $50,000 but no more than $100,000.
Possession of Two Thousand to Ten Thousand Pounds of Marijuana
Getting caught with over two thousand pounds of marijuana will cost you at least ten years in prison, but no more than forty years. The fine for two thousand to ten thousand pounds of marijuana possession is between $100k and $400k.
Possession of Ten Thousand or More Pounds of Marijuana
In Louisiana, possession of ten thousand or more pounds of marijuana can earn you between twenty-five and forty years of prison time. The fine is also hefty: offenders have to pay at least $400,000 and up to a whopping $1 million in fines.
When to Hire a Louisiana Marijuana Defense Lawyer
Marijuana possession is a big deal in Louisiana. Possession of less than two and a half pounds may only get you a misdemeanor the first two times. But a third conviction or possession of higher amounts of cannabis can earn you serious time behind bars.
Were you popped for a marijuana possession charge in Louisiana? Then it’s about time you called Attorney Carl. Get in touch with Louisiana marijuana defense attorney Carl Barkemeyer to find out how we can help win your case.