How much will Louisiana make off medical marijuana sales?

By Sarah Gamard

BATON ROUGE — The lucrative nature of medical marijuana sales was at the center of a Louisiana House committee discussion on a law that puts the state into the distribution business. LSU and Southern University plan to grow marijuana for use as medical treatments, as authorized under 2016 legislation to legalize and regulate the distribution.

LSU’s operation alone is estimated to cost between $10 million and $15 million. But the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development was warned Thursday (April 27) that it will take seven to eight years for the operation to become lucrative.

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Sanctuary city ban advances in Louisiana Legislature, with New Orleans in mind

By William Taylor Potter

A bill prohibiting so-called sanctuary city policies anywhere in Louisiana — but targeting New Orleans — was approved with a 8-7 committee vote Wednesday (April 26) and sent to the full House for debate.

House Bill 135 by Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, defines sanctuary city policies as ordinances or guidelines discouraging or prohibiting cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when it comes to immigrants or preventing local law enforcement officers from asking a suspect about his or her immigration status when routinely stopped for another offense, such as a traffic violation.

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Brew U: Shreveport lawmaker seeks to bar colleges from branding with beer companies

By Sarah Gamard

A contentious proposal in the Louisiana House of Representatives by a Shreveport lawmaker would prohibit a state institution of higher learning from allowing its name or symbol to be affixed to an alcoholic beverage.

This has ramification for both the microbreweries and the schools. The controversy even caught the attention of Gov. John Bel Edwards, who weighed into the brew-ha-ha Thursday.

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Protest at state Capitol for incarceration reform


Yolanda Castillo (left) holds a sign at the steps of the State Capitol. Her nephew is 40 years old and has been incarcerated for 21 years. Castillo was one of several demonstrators Thursday who came with the Louisianans for Prison Alternatives to advocate bills this session that would reform Louisiana incarceration. Photo by Sarah Gamard.

By Sarah Gamard

The Louisiana State Capitol was flooded with a sea of bright blue T-shirts Thursday when more than 100 members of the group Louisianans for Prison Alternatives came to support bills relating to incarceration reform.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also was there to support the group. Sarah Omojola, an SPLC policy counsel in New Orleans, said twice as many people as expected showed up for the demonstration.

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Gas tax increase proposed to fix Louisiana highways, bridges

By Christian Boutwell

Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, filed, as promised, House Bill 632 on Tuesday (April 18), which would increase Louisiana’s gas tax 17 cents per gallon and would raise an estimated additional $510 million annually for the state’s highways and bridges.

“Across Louisiana, our infrastructure is crumbling,” Carter said off the floor. “The citizens of this state are sick of being stuck in traffic, and they want bold solutions that improve safety, quality of life and economic productivity, which this bill provides.”

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