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Which marijuana laws and penalties apply in Louisiana?

Louisiana is one of the many states that still prohibits the possession or distribution of marijuana, also known as cannabis. Readers need to understand that if they get caught carrying marijuana, they may face various drug charges that depend on the quantity of the prohibited substance. Local residents should also note that each offense comes with a unique set of penalties, such as a mandatory minimum sentence. Subsequent offenses can result in increased fines and penalties for the accused person.

First-time offenders can be incarcerated for up to six months and may be ordered to pay $500 in fines if they get caught carrying less than 60 pounds of marijuana. For a second offense, for the same amount of marijuana, a person can be incarcerated for up to five years and fined $2,500. A subsequent offense, for the same amount of marijuana, can result in 20 years in prison and $5,000 fines.

If authorities confiscate 60 to 2,000 pounds of cannabis, an accused person can be charged with a felony offense that can lead to a minimum of five years and a maximum of 30 years, and $100,000 in fines. For 2,000 to 10,000 pounds of marijuana, the penalties include a minimum of 10 years in jail and $400,000 in fines. For more than 10,000 pounds, the penalties include a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and $400,000 in fines. Readers should note that probation is only applicable for first- and second-time offenders.

To sum it all up, a marijuana offense can have serious consequences for a person who is convicted on the charges. But, an accused person may be able to avoid a conviction by establishing a strong criminal defense. Entering a plea bargain can also be beneficial to the accused person.

Source: Norml.org, "Louisiana laws & penalties," accessed on Aug. 4, 2014

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