Supporters of legalized marijuana made their pitch to state lawmakers, saying it could generate tax dollars, provide a new agricultural crop, shrink the jail population and lessen pain for people with medical ailments.
State health and law enforcement officials outlined their opposition, saying marijuana users have increased risk of health conditions and describing marijuana as a "gateway drug" to more toxic substances.
The testimony Tuesday was part of a study by the House criminal justice committee, upon the request of Rep. Dalton Honoré, a Democrat from Baton Rouge.
No legislation has been proposed to legalize marijuana in Louisiana, and the idea is a long-shot at best.
A bill to lessen penalties for marijuana possession has been filed for consideration this year. A similar measure failed to win passage last year.