Law enforcement stance on pot starts to shift in Louisiana

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Marijuana enthusiasts and law enforcement don't agree on much. But there's one point both concede: Louisiana's marijuana laws are exceptionally strict.

Those caught with pot face up to 20 years in prison on a third arrest. And a medical marijuana is essentially meaningless because the state hasn't developed any guidelines.

That could soon change. The state's law enforcement associations have stymied past efforts to change marijuana laws but are shifting their stance — even if only a little.

The Louisiana Sheriffs' Association supports a bill to make medical marijuana available for cancer, glaucoma and a severe form of cerebral palsy. Smoking it would remain illegal. The Senate passed the measure Monday. It heads to the House.

And the Louisiana District Attorney Association supports decreased sentences for people with multiple possession convictions. A measure is scheduled for consideration Wednesday in a House committee.

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