VILLE PLATTE — On August 1st, a new law that will greatly reduce the penalties for so-called "personal use" amounts of marijuana in Louisiana will go into effect.
The punishment is now a one hundred dollar fine for possession of fourteen grams or less.
Charles Guillory, the Sheriff of Evangeline Parish says he is not thrilled about the new law. He says that it will require more training for his patrol officers, and in turn, costs more money.
"Obviously my criminal patrol and my narcotic division always have scales, but my patrol division does not, so that is going to cost the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office more money," he says. "I have spoken to my captain of narcotics and we will have more training for them."
Sheriff Guillory says the legislation does not go into effect until August 1st, 2021, and until that time he assumes that prosecuting marijuana possession cases will be the same as usual. Although some are excited about the new law, Sheriff Guillory believes that this is a step in the direction of legalizing marijuana completely.
"I don't think that trying to legalize it just to increase revenue is a good thing because it's going to create more problems for everyone and it will of course just cost more money," says Sheriff Guillory. "We are going to have people driving impaired and we're just going to have more impaired drivers on the road and we absolutely do not need that."
So while there is nothing that Sheriff Guillory can do abut the ever-changing law, he wants to warn the community that this new bill does not make it legal to possess marijuana, it only lessens the penalties.
"It's just like drinking and driving," he says. "Please don't smoke and drive because it is still a ticket offense and it is still illegal at this point and it it one hundred percent not decriminalized."
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