Louisiana residents are showing strong support for cannabis decriminalization, according to the 2023 Louisiana State University (LSU) Louisiana Survey. The survey results indicate that an overwhelming 70% of respondents are in favor of allowing adults to possess small amounts of cannabis for personal use, representing a notable increase from the 42% support recorded in the 2013 survey.
Furthermore, the LSU survey found that 90% of respondents support the possession of cannabis for medical purposes, which aligns with Louisiana’s existing functional medical cannabis program. Notably, the state witnessed a staggering 600% increase in medical cannabis patient registrations compared to the previous year.
The recent 70% support for adult-use cannabis reforms marks the highest level of backing recorded in the last decade of the Louisiana Survey. Previous surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015 showed support levels of 45% and 55%, respectively, with a notable increase to 70% in 2019.
In response to the survey results, Peter Robins-Brown, the executive director of Louisiana Progress—an advocacy group that supports legalization—expressed his belief that cannabis legalization in the state is inevitable and could potentially occur within the next few years. Robins-Brown noted that even with a conservative legislature, it would be challenging for Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry or Senator Sharon Hewitt, both contenders for the governorship, to veto a legalization bill given the positive public opinion.
Despite the growing support for cannabis decriminalization, progress in Louisiana has faced obstacles. In April, the House Criminal Justice Committee rejected a measure that aimed to legalize cannabis for adult use in the state. However, it’s worth mentioning that possession of up to 14 grams of cannabis for personal use was downgraded to a misdemeanor offense last year, punishable by a $100 fine and no jail time.
As the momentum for cannabis reform continues to build, Louisiana finds itself at a critical juncture, with an increasing majority of its residents favoring progressive changes to cannabis laws. The survey results underscore the shifting public opinion and may serve as a catalyst for future legislative efforts towards comprehensive cannabis reform in the state.