Louisiana Marijuana
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Louisiana Senate Committee Approves Bill To Reform Draconian Marijuana Possession Law

Louisiana MarijuanaLawmakers in Louisiana took a major step toward reforming the state’s harsh marijuana possession law when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to reform the state’s harsh marijuana possession law. If passed, Louisiana would join the growing number of states that have recently reduced penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

“This is a long-sought opportunity to take a more compassionate and commonsense approach to marijuana,”  said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Louisiana’s overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step.”

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S.  Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last twenty years and is nearly five times higher than Iran’s, 13 times higher than China’s and 20 times higher than Germany’s.  One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.

According to a 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, Louisiana suffers from some of the worst racial disparities in marijuana enforcement of any state in the U.S.  Black Louisianans are arrested for marijuana possession at 3 times the rate as their white counterparts, despite the fact that black and white people use and sell marijuana at similar rates.

One tragic case in Louisiana is that of Bernard Noble, a father of seven, who is serving 13 years behind bars after he was arrested for possessing 2 joints of marijuana. Mr. Noble had two prior minor drug offenses more than 10 years earlier and because of Louisiana’s habitual offender law, the “third strike” gave him a mandatory sentence of 13 years of hard labor behind bars.

“The opportunity for redemption is to be applauded and signals that a run-in with the law shouldn’t be a burden one carries her entire life,” said Jee Park, Deputy Chief Defender at Orleans Public Defenders. “Criminal penalties and the social and economic barriers they create are major hurdles for many families in Louisiana and need to be removed.”

According to a 2014 survey conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union, the majority of Louisianans are in favor of marijuana sentencing reform.

An August 2013 Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey found that 56% of likely voters favor citing individuals for simple marijuana possession over arresting them. The same poll found that 64% said they are against strict penalties for repeat offenders.

“It’s outrageous to punish marijuana possession so severely when a clear majority of Louisiana voters support reducing criminal penalties for it,” added Cadore. “It’s a relief to see that smart policymakers are starting to recognize this political reality.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

  • Timmy Landry

    Let us smoke our cannabis and leave us alone,it is a medicine.It treats and prevents all kinds of alements and disease .

  • Ted Mishler

    Why do they feel marijuana users need any PUNISHMENT for?

    Has this country just gone nuts?

    I’d like to see those in favor of punishment punished themselves, the slime bags

    • miss independent

      bad thing about it is most of those doing the punishing have smoked before themselves just didn’t get caught. wonder where they careers would be now had they been caught

  • miss independent

    why don’t they worry about all the alcoholics and leave the peaceful stoners alone…..

  • jessie james

    This is why I don’t care about cops being murdered I just laugh they spread hate and that’s what they get back

  • TheLogicalResult .

    I grew up in Louisiana and I’m pleasantly surprised that they are taking this up. In Louisiana daiquiris can be bought at a drive-thru. They’re okay with selling an open container of alcohol to a person driving a car, but they treat people like drug kingpins for a small amount of weed.

  • The truth

    http://thejointblog.com/louisiana-senate-passes-bill-to-reduce-penalties-for-cannabis-possession-allow-expungement-of-cannabis-offenses/

    Passed 27-12 in the Senate and now is headed to the House. Hopefully those idiots will do the right thing. This bill doesn’t go far enough, but it’s one helluva start for Louisiana.