Marijuana Law Ridiculous

Louisiana Supreme Court
Louisiana Supreme Court (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marijuana Law Ridiculous

27-year old gets 20 years for half an ounce of pot

While Colorado and Washington have de-criminalized recreational use of marijuana and twenty states allow use for medical purposes, a Louisiana man was sentenced to twenty years in prison in New Orleans criminal court for possessing 15 grams, .529 of an ounce, of marijuana.

Corey Ladd, 27, had prior drug convictions and was sentenced September 4, 2013 as a “multiple offender to 20 years hard labor at the Department of Corrections.”

Marijuana use still remains a ticket to jail in most of the country and prohibition is enforced in a highly racially discriminatory manner.  A recent report of the ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” documents millions of arrests for marijuana and shows the “staggeringly disproportionate impact on African Americans.”

Nationwide, the latest numbers from the FBI report that over 762,000 arrests per year are for marijuana, almost exactly half of all drug arrests.

Even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people.

Yes, but is this case an anomaly in Louisiana? Apparently not – from further down in the same article –

In Louisiana, a person can get up to six months in jail for first marijuana conviction, up to five years in prison for the second conviction and up to twenty years in prison for the third.   In fact, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently overturned a sentence of five years as too lenient for a fourth possession of marijuana and ordered the person sentenced to at least 13 years.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for some kind of sanity. Let’s start with tough sentences for people who hurt other people and gentler sentences for those who do not harm others.

Is this a business ethics issue? Yes, it ties in with the issues of private prisons and, in particular, the issue of policing for profit, the nauseating practice of police confiscating property often under the threat of filing charges.

The war on drugs had failed. It has filed monumentally, catastrophically; it is a self inflicted scourge upon this nation.

When policies fail over and over again, isn’t it time to try something new?

It’s time. It’s time to build a better nation, a better place to live. And we can do that by cutting our ridiculous rates of imprisonment and building the schools, the roads, the universities, the monuments and all the paraphernalia of a great nation. Let’s do it now.

James Pilant

Now, if you have fantasies of marijuana being one of the four horseman of the apocalypse in America – watch the film below and have your beliefs confirmed –

From the web site, The Weed Blog.

In claims that are in vast contrast to those of the Drug Enforcement Administrationand other government entities, the government-funded National Cancer Institute has a report published on its website which proclaims several benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, citing numerous scientific studies to back their claims. The page was updated last month.

The report starts by explaining what cannabinoids are;”Cannabinoids are a group of 21-carbon-containing terpenophenolic compounds produced uniquely by Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica species”, the report continues, “These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. Although delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient, other known compounds with biologic activity are cannabinol, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, and delta-8-THC. CBD, in particular, is thought to have significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect (high) of delta-9-THC.”

From the web site, Marijuana Policy Project.

The Louisiana House took a big step forward May 29 when it voted 54-38 to approve a bill that would have reduced marijuana possession penalties for second and subsequent offenses. House Bill 103, sponsored by Rep. Austin J. Badon, Jr., would have also removed marijuana possession from the list of offenses that receive mandatory minimum sentences. The bill was approved 4-2 by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Sen. J.P. Morrell, the bill was not debated on the floor of the Senate. Legislators adjourned for the year June 6.

Prior to this year, Louisiana legislators did not seem willing to consider reducing Louisiana’s draconian marijuana penalties whatsoever. HB 103 was a modest attempt at reform, but its surprising success could help Louisiana legislators see that reforming marijuana laws is good politics in addition to being good policy. Because HB 103 passed the House so late in the session, a supermajority was needed in the Senate to even bring the bill up for debate. We’re very hopeful that next year the legislature will take a serious look at excessive marijuana penalties.

From the web site, The Louisiana Weekly.

Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world and a
Department of Corrections with a budget of almost $700 million – almost
twice the budget for the entire LSU system. Yet we still have a high
rate of violent crime, which is not solved by the increased penalties we
impose on people who are not violent and pose no danger to society.  In
Louisiana, unfair three-strike laws have landed individuals in jail for
life without parole for simple marijuana possession. Someone with two
prior convictions, which can be for things as minor as calling a parole
office a day late, can send someone to prison forever for simply
possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use.  Laws requiring
Mandatory minimum sentences generate disproportionately long sentences
and often tie judges’ hands in considering the individual circumstances
of a case. Meanwhile, nonviolent people who pose no danger to society
risk spending their lives in state prison.

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