Unlike dozens of other states, Louisiana has held a hard line on the legality of recreational cannabis. In fact, penalties for marijuana possession in the state are some of the strictest in the nation.

If law enforcement has arrested you for cannabis possession, it is important to understand your legal rights.

Possession of less than 2.5 pounds

For the first offense, penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana are as follows:

  • Less than 14 grams: up to $300 in fines and up to 15 days in parish jail
  • More than 14 grams but less than 2.5 pounds: up to $500 in fines and up to six months in parish jail

Second and subsequent offenses may be subject to higher fines and longer jail terms.

Possession of more than 2.5 pounds

Cannabis possession in Louisiana is punishable by prison time and even hard labor for amounts over 2.5 pounds. Specific penalties are as follows:

  • Up to 60 pounds: between $10,000 and $30,000 in fines and two to 10 years in prison, potentially with hard labor
  • 60 to 2,000 pounds: between $50,000 and $100,000 in fines and five to 30 years in prison with hard labor
  • 2,000 to 10,000 pounds: between $100,000 and $400,000 in fines and 10 to 40 years in prison with hard labor
  • More than 10,000 pounds: between $400,000 and $1 million in fines and 25 to 40 years in prison with hard labor

There are many possible legal defense strategies for people facing marijuana charges in Louisiana. For example, a police officer may have made a procedural error, or perhaps the drugs were in your vehicle, but there is no proof that they belonged to you. Because the penalties are so serious, it is a good idea to explore all your legal options.