In New Orleans, You Can Get 5 Years in Prison for a Joint of Marijuana

Drug war defenders are indeed fond of pointing out how hard it is to actually get jail time for using drugs. So they should probably stop New Orleans District Attorney Keva Landrum-Johnson before she finishes filling Louisiana's prisons with the pettiest marijuana users she can find:

The flood of new felony charges didn’t target murderers, rapists or armed robbers — they targeted small-time marijuana users, sometimes caught with less than a gram of pot, and threatened them with lengthy prison sentences.

The resulting impact has clogged the courts with non-violent, petty offenses, drained the resources of the criminal justice system and damaged low-income African-American communities, [Orleans Public Defenders Office Chief of Trials Steve] Singer said.


A first-time marijuana possession charge in Louisiana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison but typically results in a small fine. A second offense is a felony that can carry up to five years in jail and a third offense up to 20 years.


Some say Landrum-Johnson’s decision to buck history and charge marijuana users with felonies is a political decision meant to assist in her run for Orleans Criminal District Court Section E judgeship. By prosecuting thousands of marijuana possession cases as felonies, Landrum-Johnson can then go to the voters of New Orleans and claim she is “tough on crime,” [Tulane University criminologist Peter] Scharf said. She can point to the massive increase in felony prosecutions under her tenure without explaining that those prosecutions were for people holding joints and not guns, he said. [New Orleans CityBusiness]

Only Landrum-Johnson knows what her motivations are, so I won't belabor that point. She is presiding over a deliberate effort to place large numbers of small-time marijuana users in prison for 5-20 years and there exists no noble motive for doing that. Whether she believes this can help her become a judge, or she possesses a virulent and vindictive animosity towards people who smoke marijuana, or she is merely detached utterly from the consequences of the authority she wields, the result is disastrous and the justification is a fraud.

This, I'm afraid to say, is the reality of America's war on drugs. Everyday our drug policies produce outcomes none of us intended and almost none of us support. The idea of imprisoning nonviolent drug users is so obviously unpopular that the DEA has a whole page arguing that it almost never happens. But will anyone in Washington, D.C. approach the New Orleans DA's office and tell them to stop? Of course not. The very people who so vigorously argue the scarcity of such injustices are the same ones who work tirelessly to conceal them and enable their continuation.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Legalize marijuana

Ms Landrum-Johnson needs to be removed from power!

Her actions and her archaic, myopic attitude towards marijuana users are exactly what's making it impossible to impose minimum age restrictions on the sale of marijuana.

She knows as well as the police and the DEA that the prohibition can't get marijuana out of society. It just can't do it. Instead it inflates the price, increasing the profits of those supplying the market and sucking into the market every gang and criminal organization looking to make easy money.

Legalizing marijuana will send the right message to our children, it’ll tell them we aren’t going to lie to them anymore, it’ll tell them we aren’t going to alienate them from society simply due to their choice of recreational drug, and it’ll tell them that discrimination in any form is unacceptable.

We must force people like Ms Landrum-Johnson out of power and demand our government strike down its discriminatory, costly, and morally repugnant marijuana prohibition! Every legislator who votes to retain the prohibition votes to keep marijuana in the hands of minors. Oust them all. Legalize Marijuana!!

mm

Luckily ms Johnson is only an interim DA and will be out of that post very soon. She just won a judgeship in criminal court. New Orleans will e electing a new DA in the fall.

It appears she did this for political reasons that she was increasing felony convictions.

As a New Orleans resident I wish that we would change our laws to something similar in New York so we don't even have this problem.

New Orleans has serious crime problems, but arresting people with a joint and putting them in jail for 5 years will only make things worse.

Sent this to her the Nazie

By a mother about her only son in jail a victim of the War on Drugs aka War on the American people perpetuated by the Nazis in power for personal gain and greed they sacrifice us as the cost of doing business.

The "War on Drugs" is a guise to control and confuse
It's a war against the rights that they want us to lose

As the losses mount up and the prisons continue to fill
I sickeningly wonder how much more blood they'll spill

By far, the most debilitating loss I'd personally face
Are the years stolen from my child, that I can't replace
And the memory of the tears on his tortured face . . .

One thing is clear:

Even if the drug war were winnable, the DEA would still lose. With decades of statistics to be twisted and mismatched, hordes of "experts" waiting to be called upon and billions of dollars to throw around, they still can't construct a rational argument in their own favor.

DEA fact #10: "Most nonviolent drug users get treatment, NOT JUST JAIL TIME." (Capitals mine.)

So, first they tell us that most convicted drug users DO go to jail, then they use statistics from state and federal prisons to prove that drug users don't really go to jail. But most the people who ARE in prison for simple possession were actually charged with trafficking but pleaded down to possession. So, people DO go to prison for simple possession.

AND jail -- the sheriff of Yavapai County, Arizona boasts that 47% of the inmates in our county jails are there on drug charges.

Even one person locked up for victimless activities is one too many.

You could get...

20 years in Malaysia. I guess the united snakes is the more free of the two tyrannys.Beware of judges with agendas.

New Orleans . . .

Are the prisons the marijuana offenders being sent into privatized? More bodies behind bars = more revenue

Jury Nullification

It sounds like the citizens of La need a crash course on jury nullification.
A juror not only has the right to decide guilt or innocence ,a juror also has the right to aquit based on the fairness of the law and how it is applied.

nonsense filled with half

nonsense filled with half truths and lies...and i like weed!..

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