7:04 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Compassion and Cannabis

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 10:43 am

A bill that would set up rules and the system for dispensing medical marijuana advanced out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. Although law enforcement opposition has derailed similar bills in previous sessions, the difference with Fred Mills’ SB 143 was the support of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association.

“The move that our sheriffs made was to be compassionate; was to do things to provide relief,” Sheriffs’ Association director Mike Renatza testified, “And to hopefully not harm anyone.”

Renatza said each sheriff examined his own conscience, and asked themselves, “What would you do? What would you do for your son? What would you do for your daughter?”

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Louisiana Eats!
11:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Fun, Funky & Almost Famous

Author Jyl Benson & photographer Sam Hanna discuss the importance of collaboration and creative energy when working on "Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes."
Credit Sandra Hanna

It's a common fact of life that there is more to people and things than meets the eye.

For example, many people know New Orleans artist Thomas Mann for his jewelry and metal sculptures, but may have been unfamiliar with his interest with food. An accomplished cook and self-styled ovo-lacto-piscean vegetarian, Thomas will get to show off his chops on Food Network's new competitive cooking show "All-Star Academy," which premieres Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m. He gives us the scoop on his network debut and what audiences can expect to tune in to.

Louisiana Eats! roving reporter Jyl Benson is more than just a longtime contributor to our show. She's also a prolific food writer and, most recently, author of a new cookbook: "Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes." Along with collaborator Sam Hanna, Jyl discusses how the book came together, both offering an in depth look at their approach to food photography.

Also, Chris Boucher, industrial hemp advocate, explains the benefits of Cannabis sativa, the plant often demonized as "The Devil's Weed." While hemp and marijuana are both derivatives of Cannabis sativa, hemp contains no THC, the active chemical that gets marijuana users high. Chris explains why attitudes toward hemp turned sour by the 1930s and why he believes, with new research and growing interest in the product, hemp cultivation will soon become a giant industry in the U.S.

We're taking a long look on both sides of the fence on this week's Louisiana Eats!

Latest News
6:01 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Cassidy Picks Up An Unlikely Endorsement From Louisiana Pro-Marijuana Group

Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has picked up an unlikely endorsement from the Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association, a pro-marijuana group.
Laurie Avocado Wikimedia

Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has picked up an unlikely endorsement, WWL-TV reports. A Louisiana pro-marijuana group is supporting the congressman's bid to unseat Mary Landrieu.

A spokesman for the Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association, Jesse McCormick, says the endorsement comes down to Cassidy’s support for medical marijuana. Mary Landrieu rejected it during a debate before the primary, but Cassidy, a doctor, said he would be open to it.

3:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Lawmakers Not Ready to Reduce Pot Penalties

Testifying before the House Criminal Justice committee are (L to R): Marjorie Esman, ACLU; Rep. Austin Badon; Kevin Kane, Pelican Institute.

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:30 pm

  The House Criminal Justice committee took up the first of several bills that have been filed to change Louisiana’s marijuana laws on Thursday. New Orleans Representative Austin Badon is the author of a measure to reduce penalties for second-offense and subsequent convictions for marijuana possession. His bill would also prevent simple possession from being counted toward “three strikes” and life imprisonment.

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Latest News
3:10 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Bill Easing State Marijuana Penalties Derailed

State Rep. Austin Badon's proposal to soften penalties for marijuana possession was derailed today.
Credit Matthew Benoit / Shutterstock


A New Orleans lawmaker's proposal to soften penalties for marijuana possession has been at least temporarily derailed by opposition from Louisiana sheriffs.

Rep. Austin Badon, a Democrat, pulled his bill from consideration Thursday in the House Criminal Justice Committee after testimony by the head of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association.

Association executive director Michael Ranatza said sheriffs fear the bill could lead to decriminalization of marijuana.

Badon says he was caught off-guard by Ranatza's testimony.

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6:52 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Louisiana May Lighten Up on Marijuana Laws

Louisiana patients may soon have a new medicine option, if one state lawmaker has his way.

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:38 am

With some of the nation’s harshest punishments for marijuana possession and an ultra-conservative Republican governor at the helm, few would expect Louisiana might be the next state to allow folks to light up a joint. Yet one state lawmaker is planning to push to lighten up some pot laws during the upcoming legislative session.

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Latest News
9:20 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

State Lawmakers Hear Support For Legalizing Marijuana

The Louisiana State Capitol.
Stuart Seeger Flickr

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.

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12:14 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Bill Seeking Reduced Marijuana Possession Sentences Advances In State Senate

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 2:31 pm

A bill aiming to reduce the sentences of marijuana possession in Louisiana advanced Tuesday in the Senate.

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1:01 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Interviews: Civil Rights Activist Dorothy Cotton, Legalizing Marijuana

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 10:04 am

Dr. Beau Kilmer, with the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, with what everyone needs to know about legalizing marijuana.

Jim talks with civil rights activist Dr. Dorothy Cotton, who was a contemporary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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