Cannabis in Louisiana is illegal for recreational use. First time possession of the drug remains a criminal offense but was decriminalized statewide in 2015 to a $300 fine and/or 15 days in jail. Possession of marijuana has also been decriminalized in the cities of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport.[1]

Prohibition (1920s)[edit]

Sources give varying dates for the prohibition of cannabis in Louisiana, generally either 1924[2] or 1927.[3][4]

Despite this law, and newspaper accounts of contemporaneous cannabis use in New Orleans, in 1930 there were only 30 marijuana convictions in the entire state.[5]

Reduction of criminal penalties (2015)[edit]

On June 30, 2015, Governor Bobby Jindal signed SB 143, which significantly reduced penalties for possession of cannabis. Under the bill, first time possession is punishable by a $300 fine and 15 days in jail, a second offense by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, a third offense by up a $2,500 fine and up to two years in jail, and fourth or subsequent offenses by up to a $5,000 fine and eight years in prison.[6]

Medical cannabis (2015-present)[edit]

On June 30, 2015, Governor Bobby Jindal also signed HB 149, which sets up a framework for dispensing marijuana for medical purposes.[7] On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, medical cannabis was dispensed in the state for the first time, supplied by cannabis grower GB Sciences.[8]

In August 2020, HB 819, signed by Governor John Bel Edwards, greatly expanded access to medical cannabis. HB 819 allows any licensed doctor in good standing with the state to recommend cannabis for any condition the doctor "considers debilitating to an individual patient and is qualified through his medical education and training to treat." [9]

There are currently 9 pharmacies within the state dispensing THC products,[1] one in each state health department region. They are located in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Lafayette, Monroe, Lake Charles, Alexandria, and Madisonville. A 10th pharmacy license could be issued as needed.[10]Products available include tinctures, creams, distillates, gelatin based chewable, and metered dose inhalers.[11] Raw flower is not allowed to be sold in the state. Additionally, only two growers are licensed to grow cannabis: LSU and Southern University.[12] Limited availability and shortages have been reported from some patients.


  1. ^ a b Center, Transformative Health. "Cannabis History in Louisiana". Transformative Health Center. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Steven R. Belenko (January 1, 2000). Drugs and Drug Policy in America: A Documentary History. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-29902-5.
  3. ^ Stephen R. Kandall (1999). Substance and Shadow: Women and Addiction in the United States. Harvard University Press. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-0-674-85361-4.
  4. ^ C. W. M. Wilson (October 22, 2013). The Pharmacological and Epidemiological Aspects of Adolescent Drug Dependence: Proceedings of the Society for the Study of Addiction, London, 1 and 2 September 1966. Elsevier. pp. 360–. ISBN 978-1-4831-8616-0.
  5. ^ University of Southwestern Louisiana. Center for Louisiana Studies (2005). The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Series in Louisiana History. Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana. p. 37. ISBN 9781887366670.
  6. ^ "Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Signs Marijuana Reform Bills". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  7. ^ "Bobby Jindal signs marijuana bills that reform criminal penalties, medical marijuana access". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  8. ^ "Louisiana launching medical marijuana after years of waiting". PBS NewsHour. August 6, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  9. ^ "It's official: Louisiana widening access to medical marijuana under new law". Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Bacon-Blood, Littice. "Here's where Louisiana's medical marijuana pharmacies will locate". Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  11. ^ "Louisiana Medical Marijuana Pharmacy | Baton Rouge THC". Capitol Wellness Solutions. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  12. ^ Israel, Solomon (June 24, 2020). "Louisiana medical marijuana market expected to grow after program changes, but headwinds remain". Marijuana Business Daily. Retrieved March 24, 2021.