A proposed bill that will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana is one step closer to being passed.

Yesterday, a Senate committee voted to pass the bill over for full debate on the Louisiana Senate floor. The bill was proposed by Representative Cedric Glover of Shreveport, and it would make possessing a half-ounce or smaller amount of marijuana for recreational use a misdemeanor carrying a fine up to $100. It would also apply to repeat offenders, and it would end being arrested for having a half-ounce or less of weed.

Glover said in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that possessing small amounts of marijuana should not lead a Louisiana resident to becoming a felon or receiving jail time. The committee narrowly voted the bill through by a 3-2 vote. If the bill gets support during the full Senate debate and passes, it will head to Governor Edwards' desk to be signed into law. Edwards has spoken earlier on the matter and has said he would sign the bill.

Supporters say ending arrests for small amounts of marijuana possession will free the already clogged Louisiana judicial system from these minor offenses and allow them and the police to focus on more important criminal activities in the state.

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