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US (LA): Lawmakers kill bill to legalize recreational cannabis

Louisiana lawmakers killed an effort to legalize recreational cannabis, leaving the state's medical cannabis program as the only legal way to secure the drug.

The House Criminal Justice Committee voted 9-4 to scuttle Democratic New Orleans Rep. Candace Newell's House Bill 24 to create a legal recreational cannabis market in Louisiana.

Twenty-two states have already legalized recreational cannabis, the latest being Delaware this week.

Newell argued that the 1937 federal law outlawing cannabis was created because of "racism, bigotry and fear-mongering" after a national propaganda campaign demonizing the drug.

She said the campaign stoked fears of Black musicians "smoking reefers" and "raping white women." Newell and others who testified in favor of the bill also said legalization would create a booming economy that would benefit the state.

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