Marijuana Ownership: Tricky on Crime or Good on Crime?

We unquestionably have all heard the previous cliché to give a boost to a tough-on-crime stance: You do the crime; you serve the time. However, what does that in truth imply should you merely possess marijuana in Louisiana? The primary conviction for easy marijuana ownership right now carries a possible sentence of six months at parish jail and a $500 nice. With the second one conviction, the offense turns into a legal with the possible punishment leaping to up to 5 years on the Division of Corrections and a $2,500 nice. A 3rd conviction for easy ownership of marijuana can convey a 20-year jail time period and a $5,000 nice. Those are probably the most hardest consequences within the country. However, Louisiana’s tough-on-crime way has now not deterred many from the use of marijuana. Many additionally blithely fail to recognize that it’s financially tough to be tough-on-crime as a result of the expense of incarcerating other people, specifically huge numbers of other people.

Given Louisiana’s annually price range shortfalls and well-documented incarceration charges well known to be the very best on the planet, Louisiana has seemed made up our minds to incarcerate other people way past its way. As such, is it time for Louisiana to imagine being smart-on-crime somewhat than tough-on-crime? A lot of our neighboring southern states have already achieved so. Texas, a state that can by no means be accused of coddling criminals, has led the way in which via passing in depth prison justice reform, leading to a vastly decreased jail inhabitants, and, in flip, saving tax payers billions. Georgia and Mississippi have now adopted, with Mississippi passing its sweeping reform into legislation as just lately as March 2014.

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Most likely Louisiana isn’t reasonably able to visit the similar lengths as Texas, Georgia and Mississippi in prison justice reform; nor would Louisiana seem ready to outright decriminalize marijuana like Colorado or Washington. However, Louisiana may just no less than take a child step in decreasing the prison consequences for a non-violent offense like easy marijuana ownership, proper? Whilst Kentucky has now not long gone so far as Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Colorado or Washington, it however modified its legislation in 2011, making 45 days in prison the utmost penalty for all marijuana ownership convictions. Moreover, even earlier than its most up-to-date reform, Mississippi had already decreased its consequences for marijuana ownership over 10 years in the past, the place first offense is punishable via a nice and all next convictions are misdemeanors.

With 10 marijuana-related expenses being introduced at the newest legislative consultation and the reform being applied round us, many had explanation why to really feel constructive that Louisiana may just no less than accomplish some small reform in regard to marijuana ownership, particularly since a majority of these expenses would have left the consequences for easy ownership of marijuana a long way more than maximum states.

Senate Invoice 323, as an example, sought to cut back the consequences for marijuana ownership and limit the applying of enhanced sentencing regulations to 2d and next offenses. The penalty for first offense underneath this invoice would were a nice of $100 and/or six months in prison, and the second one and next offense provisions that made ownership of marijuana a legal punishable via as much as 5 and twenty years in jail, respectively, would were deleted fully. Area Invoice 14 was once a lot much less modern than Senate Invoice 323, in search of simplest to cut back the utmost consequences for next marijuana ownership convictions from 5 to 2 years for a 2d offense and from 20 to 5 years for a 3rd offense. Finally, Senate Invoice 541 sought to ascertain a complete machine for administering marijuana for medicinal functions.

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Alternatively, arguing that any alternate within the provide legislation would result in legalization, the Louisiana District Lawyer’s Affiliation and the Louisiana Sheriff ’s Affiliation have up to now strongly antagonistic Senate Invoice 323, Area Invoice 14 and Senate Invoice 541, successfully killing each and every invoice in committee. Which begs the query: has prison justice reform in Louisiana already long gone up in smoke?

Being a life-long New Orleans Saints fan, I assume that I will be able to simply depend by myself favourite cliché: There’s all the time subsequent yr.