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Fast Facts: Burning on the Bayou

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• The Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law in Louisiana's statutes is what makes marijuana illegal. Specifically, it is categorized as a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance.

• Marijuana is Louisiana's sixth-largest cash crop, right after rice but just before sweet potatoes. However, if you account for the street price of the illegal substance, it jumps directly to the No. 1 spot.

• The harshest marijuana penalties on the books in Louisiana occur when one is caught selling or cultivating more than 10,000 pounds. In this case, the law calls for a maximum fine of $1 million and up to 80 years in prison.

• There actually is a law still in existence regulating marijuana tax stamps. It requires individuals who possess marijuana to purchase the stamp from the Department of Revenue and affix it to the marijuana. The rate is $3.50 per gram for anything over 42.5 grams. The penalty for not complying includes 200 percent of the original tax due and up to $10,000 and five years in jail. While it seems like a joke on the surface, it allows law enforcement officials to tack on an extra offense against someone who is arrested on drug charges when needed. -- Alford

Sources: National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws; University of Albany Criminal Justice Statistics Report; Louisiana Revised Statutes; Louisiana Legal Advisor.

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