Louisiana Marijuana Legalization Fails Due to Arguments on How to Tax It
When Mandeville Representative Richard Nelson said he would no longer stall a vote in the Louisiana House of Representatives on the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in Louisiana, he felt he had enough support to get the measure passed and send it on to the Louisiana Senate.
Yesterday was the day for the much anticipated vote and it came up short, so in all likelihood, the discussion on this issue is probably over for this legislative session. But the surprising part is that the vote didn't fall short due to any moral issues regarding the use of marijuana. No, its demise was classic Louisiana politics.
It was all about the money. The final vote was 48-47 against as the House voted down the measure that would set the tax rate on recreational marijuana sales. According to the Louisiana Radio Network, the tax legislation would have needed 70 votes, or two thirds majority, for approval.
Representative Nelson spoke on the financial implications of the measure saying, “The truth is right now all this money? We have zero. It’s nothing, it’s all going to the drug dealers." “If we don’t pass this bill it’s going to go to the drug dealers this year, it’s going to go to the drug dealers next year, it’s probably going to go to the drug dealers the year after that.”
As we mentioned in a previous article, the Louisiana Sheriff's Association have been against the possibility of legalizing marijuana usage in Louisiana from the very beginning and feel it would lead to more traffic accidents and crime.
Nelson attempted to sway the Sheriff's Association by adding the caveat that would have dedicated twenty percent of the revenue generated by all recreational marijuana sales to local law enforcement, but that didn't change a thing for the organization.
Though the measure is essentially dead for this year, the Louisiana House voted last week to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana and that legislation will now be heard in a Louisiana Senate committee.