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Louisiana Drug Laws

Every state has its own definition of controlled dangerous substances (CDS).

The state of Louisiana is no different. LA classifies well-known drugs (marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc.) as well as the compounds used in manufacturing as CDS.

Have you been caught with drugs in Louisiana and want to understand the updated drug laws in 2024?

Here’s a breakdown of Louisiana drug possession laws that may affect your arrest.

Louisiana Drug Laws 2024

The Five “Schedules” of Drugs

Louisiana uses five schedules to classify CDS.

Schedule I is the most dangerous drug category with high abuse probability and no medical value.

Schedules II, III, IV, and V all decrease in the dangers and abuse probability. They also increase in medial use.

Louisiana law uses these schedules to determine the penalty for possession.

Penalties and Fines

When viewing the drug charges and sentences below, consider the meaning of the following abbreviations:

  • PP = parish prison
  • HL = hard labor (state prison)
  • I, II, III, IV, V = Schedule 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • PWID = possession with intent to distribute
  • w/o benefits = cannot get probation, parole, suspension of sentence

Each penalty is specific to the type of CDS and the schedule it falls in.

Here is a quick look at those penalties and fines.

Schedule 1 Drugs

As per the Louisiana legislature, Schedule 1 drugs represent substances with the utmost potential for abuse and dependence, devoid of any recognized medicinal properties. This category encompasses drugs such as heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, and peyote.

Possession of Schedule I substances include a fine between $5,000-$600,000 depending on the CDS.

Possession also includes at least 4 years and up to 30 years in prison.

Under state law, Louisiana declares marijuana as a Schedule I(C) hallucinogenic substance.

Schedule 2 Drugs

Schedule 2 drugs are those with a high potential for abuse and dependence, albeit possessing some acknowledged medicinal benefits. Examples of Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone, Demerol, oxycodone, fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.

Possession of Schedule II substances usually includes a $5,000-$600,000 fine and 5-30 years imprisonment.

Schedule 3 Drugs

Within the Louisiana legislature’s classification, Schedule 3 drugs, substances, or chemicals are characterized by a moderate to low potential for both physical and psychological dependence. For example, Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone.

Possession of Schedule II substances includes a fine of up to $5,000, 5 years in prison, or both.

Schedule 4 Drugs

Schedule 4 drugs, substances, or chemicals are recognized for their relatively low potential for abuse and dependence. Notable examples of Schedule IV drugs encompass Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, and Tramadol.

Possession of Schedule IV substances includes a fine of up to $5,000, 5 years in prison, or both.

However, there is an exception with Flunitrazepam. In these cases, offenders face a fine up to $5,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

Schedule 5 Drugs

Schedule 5 drugs are considered to be the least harmful of the drugs, yet a prescription is still required. For example, Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin.

Possession of Schedule V substances includes a fine of up to $5,000, up to 5 years imprisonment, or both.

Second Offenses

If a person is convicted of a second offense, he or she could face twice the prison or fine, depending on the CDS involved. The District Attorney can file a habitual offender bill which could greatly increase the possible prison time of a multiple felony conviction offender.

Drug-Related Crimes

There are some common drug charges people face in Louisiana: Obtaining CDS by Fraud, Illegal Carrying of Weapon with CDS, Illegal Possession of Legend Drugs, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Getting Pinned

There are cases of people getting caught in a car with drugs belonging to someone else.

Often, this is an acquaintance in the car with them.

When this happens, the prosecution may try to pin the charges on the innocent, too.

If this happens to you, don’t wait to contact an attorney. You may feel innocent, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up with charges.

Drug Paraphernalia

A person can still face criminal charges without having drugs on them.

In the case of drug paraphernalia, you can face charges if you have an object that is used to take illegal drugs.

Some examples of drug paraphernalia are:

  • Baggies
  • Cut straws
  • Bongs
  • Pipes
  • Burnt spoons
  • Scales
  • Grinders
  • Needles

Unless it is your third offense, a drug paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor.

It’s also unlawful to lend, sell, or display any drug paraphernalia.

Medical Marijuana

Louisiana law made medical marijuana legal in August 2019.

However, their laws are still restrictive in 2024. The entire state only has two locations that can legally cultivate the plant.

There are also only nine locations that can legally distribute.

Possession of Non-Medical Marijuana

In the case of non-medical marijuana, penalties depend on the amount a person has on hand.

If a person is caught with 14g or less, they will face 15 days of jail time and a maximum of $300 fine.

Between 14g and 2.5lb, the penalty bumps up to 6 months and $500.

When a person is caught with 60lbs or more of marijuana, the charge becomes a felony with up to 10 years in jail and a $30,000 fine.

Distribution or Cultivation

It is illegal in Louisiana to distribute or cultivate marijuana in any amount.

If you’re caught doing either, you could face up to 30 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.

However, those penalties bump up significantly if you are caught distributing to a minor. For a first offense, a person can face up to 45 years in jail. After that, up to 90 years in jail and a $200,000 fine.

Miscellaneous 2024 Louisiana Drug Possession Laws

Here are some other things to be aware of if you live in Louisiana for 2024.

Drug-Free Zones

If you are caught in possession of marijuana near a drug-free zone, you could face up to 1.5 times the maximum penalties.

Drug-free zones include all schools, playgrounds, religious buildings, and public housing.

Driver’s Licenses

If you are charged with possession of any kind, a court can take away your driver’s license privileges.

Your privileges will be revoked for at least 30 days.

However, you can gain those privileges back after a year.

Hash and Concentrates

If you are caught with hashish, penalties are the same as if you were caught with marijuana.

It all depends on the amount you had on you as well as where you were caught.

Contact Your Drug Possession Attorney

If you are caught in possession of any drug or drug paraphernalia, contact our drug defense attorney, Carl Barkemeyer. He has over 18 years of experience defending clients with drug charges in Louisiana. He wrote the published book, How to Defend Drug Charges in Louisiana.

Mr. Barkemeyer will be able to guide you through the Louisiana drug possession laws. He will also go over your options based on your case. Contact us by filling out the form or calling our office. We handle drug cases in all areas of Louisiana.


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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