Marijuana is easily one of the hottest and most controversial social and political topics in the country at the moment. A drug that was once widely considered to be extremely dangerous (and given the legal consequences to match) is now gaining popularity as a medical tool, an economic boost and even a recreational relaxant. Many states have legalized marijuana to varying degrees, with some states such as Colorado completely legalizing the substance in possession, sale and use.

However, for those of us who reside in Louisiana, history, and the law tell a very different story: marijuana is illegal. In fact, our state is among one of the strictest in the country when it comes to marijuana, with hundreds of dollars in fines being placed upon those convicted of possession. Possession of large amounts, between 60 and 2000 pounds, for example, could instead mean tens-of-thousands of dollars and decades of hard labor.

It is important to note that these legal penalties do not extend to medical marijuana. As harsh as Louisiana law treats marijuana, back in the early 90s the substance was legalized for medical purposes. Unfortunately, there is no clear, legal mechanism for legally dispensing the drug. Essentially, it is legal to prescribe it, it is legal to use it (with a prescription), but it is not legal for anyone to possess marijuana in order to dispense it, which makes it difficult for patients to use the drug even if they are legally allowed to.

If you have been accused of possessing marijuana or any illegal drug, it is highly recommended that you meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for a conviction are extreme, and an attorney could help you put forth a defense that reduces your penalties or even results in the charges being dropped completely. With a substance as controversial as marijuana, legal counseling can have a significant impact on the case.