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Is drug possession a felony in Louisiana?

Is drug possession a felony in Louisiana?

Are you or a loved one stuck asking the unfortunate question “Is drug possession is a felony in Louisiana?” . If so, we have your answer. Louisiana is still very tough on drug possession. The following is an explanation of Louisiana drug possession laws.

How tough is Louisiana on drug possession?

Louisiana is well known for being one of the toughest states on drug possession. In Louisiana an offender can be sentenced to a stay in prison with or without hard labor. Louisiana considers any crime sentenced to hard labor as a felony. One can be sentenced to hard labor for simple drug possession in most cases (Even for a second offense of simple marijuana possession). The majority of defendants facing drug possession charges wind up with harsh punishment for the same charge that other states deem a lesser offense.

While many states are legalizing marijuana, there are countless inmates serving long sentences for something that would result in a fine or community service had they happened in a different state. Even being caught with a small amount of marijuana will result in up to 2 weeks in jail and a fine of up to $300. Hard labor is defined as heavy manual labor as punishment. Inmates sentenced to hard labor serve their time in state prison doing useful and productive work outside of the prison while part of a chain gang. Duties include road work crews, working at the state building, working at the governor’s mansion and working at the farming operation at Angola prison, which include shoveling manure and filling sacks with fertilizer. Angola has a long history of subjecting its prisoners to long days in the grueling sun with little water to rehydrate the prisoners.

Angola also plays host to a rodeo which is labeled “The wildest show in the south”, where prisoners act as rodeo clowns and sell concession, many of which are family recipes. The tradition began in 1965 and is a joint effort between prison staff and inmates. The Angola rodeo is held one weekend in April and every Sunday in October. Thousands of people cram into the prison to be present during the historical event.  Recently prisoners at Angola have begun revolting, demanding racial equality and an end to what many deem as slave like conditions. Angola is built on the same ground that the infamous plantation of the same name which was named after the origin of its slave workers.

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Louisiana felony possession laws

Most drug possession is a felony in Louisiana, including multiple marijuana possession offenses. In fact, the only drug possession that is not a felony is first time simple possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana. Possession of heroin can net you 20+ years and that’s without attempt to distribute! Even a second time offense of possessing marijuana will land you with a felony on your record. 

Louisiana passed legislation decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana in June of 2021 but as of the writing of this article that law is still awaiting the Governor’s signature. It seems that state officials might be trying to follow the lead of the many other states that are decriminalizing penalties of marijuana possession. As this has not passed yet, you might not want to go and try your luck quite yet. Louisiana is 1 of only 19 states that has not legalized or decriminalized marijuana currently.

Let’s take a look at which drugs will land you a felony for possession without attempt to distribute.

  • Heroin Possession of heroin comes with imprisonment of  4-10 years without probation or suspension of sentence and a fine of up to $5000.
  • Ecstasy Possession of ecstasy comes with a sentence of up to 10 years hard labor accompanied by a fine of up to $500.
  • Cocaine possession lands the offender imprisonment of up to 5 years with or without hard labor and up to $5000 in fines.
  • Amphetamines possession is a big deal. Louisiana is strict on amphetamine doling out 5-30 years and up to 600,000 in fines.
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Conclusion: Is Drug Possession A Felony In Louisiana?

While 1 in 10 arrests in Louisiana are drug related according to the FBI, unless it is a first time small quantity marijuana arrest it is a felony. As of August 2021 marijuana is decriminalized for small personal amounts. Drug law reform is a major debating point in state legislation around the country.

We hope you now understand the answer to your question- is drug possession a felony in Louisiana and wish you all the best.


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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