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Louisiana Republican Voters Support Marijuana Legalization: Investigation

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A survey of voters in several Republican-owned Louisiana House districts shows where they stand on the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana.

NEW ORLEANS Louisianans who voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election are not opposed to the legalization of marijuana in Bayou state, according to an investigation in several Republican districts.

A survey of voters in several Republican-owned Louisiana House districts shows where they stand on the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana.

In all nine districts, survey respondents supported legalization.

More than three-quarters of those responding to the survey in Louisiana House Districts 52, 53, 70, 78, 84 and 94 were for legalization, and less than 8% opposed it.

According to a poll by JMC Analytics and Polling, survey respondents from Louisiana House Districts 28 and 47 were over 64% in favor of legalization, and less than 7% against it.

Voters in all nine districts chose Trump over President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, and their poll responses indicate that they also support the legalization of marijuana.

Most respondents were also opposed to making possession or recreational use of marijuana a criminal offense.

More than half of respondents in each district said they were more likely to vote for a political candidate who wanted to reform marijuana laws.

Representative Candace N. Newell D represents Louisiana House District 99, which includes parts of New Orleans East, Lower 9th and Upper other parts of the city.

Most of the opposition to the legalization of marijuana in Louisiana has come from law enforcement, Newell said.

“The belief is that this would lead to increased crime and deaths on the road, but legalizing marijuana does not legalize impaired driving,” Newell said. “It would still be illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.”

Newell introduced two marijuana-related bills in the 2021 legislative session, she said.

One of Newell’s bills is House Bill 243 which would decriminalize possession and distribution of marijuana in Louisiana under specific rules and taxes.

“Decriminalization is not the same as legalization,” Newell said. “It would just prevent people from being arrested for small amounts of marijuana.”

Current Louisiana law has left many people with criminal charges related to marijuana. Newell said decriminalizing marijuana would give these people easier access to jobs.

Louisiana House Bill 709 is Newel’s legislation for regulating recreational marijuana, but it has a social equity aspect, Newell said.

“This would allow people who have had simple non-violent marijuana possession charges in the past to be eligible to apply for a license to grow, manufacture or sell marijuana products,” Newell said. “It also gives preference to people living in low-income areas who have been affected by higher arrest rates.”

Newell voted in favor of Representative Cedric Glover’s Louisiana House Bill 346, which would allow Louisiana residents to vote in local elections for marijuana laws.

Correcting the impact of disproportionate marijuana arrest rates in Louisana is one of Newell’s priorities, she said.

“There are too many African Americans and Hispanic Americans who have been negatively affected by disproportionate arrest rates,” Newell said. “Blacks and Maroons are arrested at a much higher price than their white counterparts, and their prison times are much longer.”

A March poll of Louisiana voters showed that “strong support for relaxing marijuana laws is consistent across nearly all identifiable demographic groups,” among Louisiana voters.

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