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Marijuana: Bill to Increase Possession Penalties Advances in Louisiana Senate

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #633)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Faced with an environmental disaster that could grow to epic proportions and a budget crisis that never seems to stop, the Louisiana legislature this year has decided it needed to take up other important issues, such as the voluntary drug testing of state legislators (also testing for their mental health was offered up, half-jokingly, as an amendment -- it passed) and criminalizing the possession of synthetic cannabinoids.

The legislature took another step in the same wrong direction this week. On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill, SB 576 that would stiffen Louisiana's already draconian statute for second offense marijuana possession. While first offense possession -- of any amount -- is a misdemeanor, a second offense is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to five years of hard labor.

That wasn't tough enough for Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge), the bill's sponsor. Under Claitor's bill, the maximum fine and prison sentence would remain the same, but a new, $250 mandatory minimum fine would be added. So would a mandatory minimum 48 hours in jail -- unless the offender attends drug treatment and does four eight-hour days of community service.

Louisiana doesn't break down how many of the drug offenders in its prisons are there for marijuana offenses, but according to the state Department of Corrections, 30.2% of inmates are drug offenders, about 50% higher than the national average. This at a time when budget cuts are paring state agencies to the bone.

The bill now heads to the House Criminal Administration Committee.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


maxwood (not verified)

1. Check out how many persons, besides me, were started to see some guy named "-aitor" that Americans actually voted for (and a Democrat too).

2. What are the tax rates for hot burning overdose niggotine $igarettes in Louisiana? (That's who's paying xyz% for prohibition and prisons.) How much did they give this guy?

3. Are vaporizers and one-hitters illegal, or automatically used as evidence for "draconian" searches and survfeillance? (Those are the things which, if tobackgo users imitate cannabis users, will destroy the not burning overdose niggotine $igarette sales empire and its stooge legislators' careers.)

Fri, 05/21/2010 - 6:29pm Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

Very, very glad I do not live in nor anywhere near Louisiana. Those who control their legislature are seriously flawed, does Pawlenty hail from there originally?

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Sat, 05/22/2010 - 3:47am Permalink

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