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Louisiana’s Marijuana Legislation Struggles to Get on 2016 Ballot

About a week before the Louisiana Legislature convened, state Rep. Dalton Honore trekked to Denver for field research related to legislation he’s pushing in Louisiana. The journey brought him just a few blocks from the Colorado State Capitol, to a marijuana dispensary.

“Some of the (pot) shops look like Apple stores,” said Honore, a Democrat from Baton Rouge, as he scrolled through photos of marijuana plants on his iPhone.

The 72-year-old is a former sheriffs deputy who has “never had a marijuana cigarette in my life.” Moreover, he said, he’s never been in the company people smoking it. But Honore said it is time stop locking people up for using the drug and start treating it more like alcohol by focusing on education and treatment.

“Eventually it’s coming,” said Honore, of legalized marijuana for recreational use. “Nobody wants to be the first in the South. We’ll probably be the last … But the deficit we’re facing every year, we need it.”

Honore’s legislation, House Bill 117, proposes to put a measure on the 2016 presidential ballot asking residents to vote on marijuana legalization. He chose that date because it falls after re-election for most of his colleagues in the Legislature and because there’s likely to be higher voter turnout. [Read more at the New Orleans Times-Picayune]

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