Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More on Louisiana and Marijuana Sentencing

Last Friday, I noted a Louisiana state court decision upholding a 14-year sentence for the sale of $40 worth of marijuana.  

I just came across this recent Reason Foundation post by Lauren Galik that provides some additional background on the state's harsh sentencing laws for drug offenders.  Galik reports that "offenders convicted of growing or selling any amount of marijuana in Louisiana—so, as little as one pot plant—are subject to serve a mandatory minimum of five years of hard labor in prison, as well as pay a fine of up to $50,000." 

She also highlights the stories of two people serving life without parole sentences for small marijuana offenses in Louisiana: "Anthony Kelly, sentenced to LWOP for possession of 32 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute in 1999, at age 25; and Fate Vincent Winslow, sentenced to LWOP for acting as a go-between in the sale of two small bags of marijuana, worth $10 in total, to an undercover police officer when he was homeless."

Many marijuana prohibitionists say they don't think marijuana offenders should be receiving long prison sentences.  I wonder if any would be willing to put aside their differences with legalization proponents (and vice versa) to lobby for reforms in states like Louisiana.  


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