louisiana

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/hemporg/public_html/news/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 34.

U.S.: Study Finds Marijuana Arrests Outnumber Those For Violent Crimes

arrested.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study has found that arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana exceeded those for all violent crimes last year, even though more and more cities and states have decriminalized or legalized the plant and attitudes toward it have changed.

And even though African-Americans smoke pot at rates similar to whites, black adults were found to be arrested at more than two and a half times the rate of whites.

Th report was released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

"Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime," the report finds, citing FBI data. "More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year."

The report says that on any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 men and women sit behind bars on simple drug possession charges.

Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. Most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime, the report says. They're sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court which may be months or even years off, because they can't afford to post bail.

Colorado: Marijuana Is Legal In Some States - But Only If You're A U.S.Citizen

bud.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana may be legal in a growing number of states, but not many people know that it's still very much against the law for all non-U.S. citizens to use it. In fact, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has penalized and deported more people convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past decade than ever before.

Claudia, a native of Chile, learned this the hard way after being flagged for an in-depth security screening after landing at Los Angeles International Airport on October 8, 2015. "It's normal," she says. "Sometimes the officers review people." Besides, she had never been in trouble in her life.

Agents directed Claudia into a big, open room where she was asked to place her luggage on a table for examination. Officer Torres, a customs agent, asked her about her planned one-week trip to San Francisco and made friendly small talk as he went through her suitcase and purse.

Torres asked Claudia about past trips to the U.S., and she told the agent of visits to Tennessee, Louisiana, New York, and Colorado. At the mention of Colorado, he asked to see her phone. He quickly began scrolling through photos from her last visit to the States from April to June of that year. "Can you do this?" she asked.

"Yes", he replied, which Claudia accepted; she had nothing to hide, after all.

Louisiana: New Orleans Softens Marijuana Possession Laws Starting This Week

Louisiana  weed.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Simple possession of marijuana in New Orleans will carry fewer consequences for repeat offenders starting Wednesday, June 22. Since 2010 police have been allowed to issue a court summons to someone caught with pot for the first time. That option will now apply to subsequent offenders as well.

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison explained Monday to members of the City Council Criminal Justice Committee how his officers will enforce the new standards. The new law applies to anyone over the age of 17 holding less than 2.5 pounds of marijuana. It will be at the discretion of the police officer to determine whether the pot is for personal use or if the suspect intended to distribute it.

The softer rules won't apply if the the suspect is found in drug-free zones, which include schools, parks, and several churches.

The ordinance taking effect Wednesday also establishes a fine structure for possession: $40 for a first offense, $60 for a second, $80 for a third, and $100 for a fourth and beyond.

It wasn't made clear at Monday's committee meeting whether the Louisiana State Police troopers who patrol New Orleans would follow the looser city standards on weed possession or follow state law, which requires an arrest. There was no immediate response to a request for comment from State Police.

Louisiana: Fishermen Find Brick of Marijuana On Beach

LouisianaSquareGrouper2016[CaptainTheophileBourgeois].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Capt. Theophile Bourgeois and his clients on Friday discovered a brick of cannabis while walking along an island beach in the Chandeleur chain off the Louisiana coast.

"It was half in the sand, right up on then beach," Bourgeois said, reports Todd Masson at The Times-Picayune. "My clients were like, 'What do you think it is?' I said, 'I'd bet my left nut what that is.' It was dark; I knew it wasn't cocaine. I said, 'That's weed.'"

They used to be called "square groupers" -- the stray bales of marijuana that occasionally washed up on the Gulf Coast, by-products of a thriving black market that brought weed into the U.S. via the Caribbean.

The anglers cut open the brick to check, and Capt. Bourgeois' suspicions were confirmed. "It was solid seeds and stems," he said. "It stunk. It was skunk weed."

The cannabis was very compressed, according to Bourgeois, and he estimated the weight of the brick as between 15 and 20 pounds. It appeared to have been lost at sea for awhile. "It was old and waterlogged," Bourgeois said.

"It was on the bay side, which meant it made its way through current and came around," he said. "It looked pretty damned old."

Louisiana: Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Measure

John Bel Edwards.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill Thursday to expand medical marijuana law in the state.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Louisiana for decades, but there has been no legal infrastructure for its production or distribution and it was limited to only three qualifying conditions.

The new law will allow people suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, wasting syndrome, seizure disorders and spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or multiple sclerosis to seek a doctor’s “recommendation” for non-intoxicating cannabis oil treatment.

“This is one of those bills that I believe will have a positive impact on people who need it the most,” Edwards said.

Critics are concerned that the expansion of medical marijuana could lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Edwards said he's comfortable that the new law won't lead to that.

“We’re not gonna have a slippery slope where it becomes a medicine recommended for every ailment out there,” he said. “It’s carefully crafted, but it’s meaningful.”

Louisiana: House Passes Medical Marijuana Legislation

Louisiana marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Louisiana House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 11, passed medical marijuana legislation to allow patients access to the drug which was first legalized for medical use in the late 1970s.

The bill passed with a wider margin than expected, 61-32, and now heads back to the Senate, where the bill is expected to pass with minor change.

"The wait was excruciating, but so worth it," said medical marijuana advocate Katie Corkern, who wants to treat her son Connor's epilepsy with the drug. "I woke up this morning and was thinking, it's not going to pass because I've been doing so much research. There were people who I thought were definitely going to vote for it who changed their minds."

The legislation seeks to provide an oil derived from the marijuana plant with extremely low levels of the chemicals that make it a psychotropic drug. Doctors would be able to "recommend" the drug rather than prescribe it, so that they can avoid risking their DEA license allowing them to prescribe narcotics.

The passage of the new legislation followed much debate. Many expressed concern that medical marijuana is a path to full legalization, which the bill's author, Fred Mills, has denied. Mills, a Republican, has said the bill is tightly written to prevent recreational use.

Louisiana: State Police Bust I-10 Driver With 466 Pounds Of Marijuana

Louisiana drug bust.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Louisiana State Police say they have arrested a man found with over 400 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop in Port Allen.

Multiple media outlets report that 56-year-old Carl Fuller of Shreveport was arrested Saturday, and charged with intent to distribute Schedule I drugs.

State police spokesman Trooper 1st Class Bryan Lee said Fuller was pulled over for a traffic stop after troopers observed several traffic violations.

Stopped by the troopers at about 10 a.m., Fuller gave consent for his Ford F350 to be searched. The officers found 466 ponds of marijuana in the pickup truck.

It is not presently known if Fuller has an attorney.

Photo by Louisiana State Police

Louisiana: Colleges May Soon Be Able To Grow Marijuana, Hemp

Louisiana marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

University agricultural centers in Louisiana may soon be able to start growing marijuana and hemp for medicinal and industrial purposes.

The House Agricultural Committee approved two bills to the House floor Tuesday related to the currently illegal plants. Universities would be allowed to research the use of fiber from hemp for use in textiles and other industries. They would be able to grow marijuana for medical uses.

Hemp has historically been used to make rope, sails for ships, and clothing, but was made illegal with marijuana, its cousin in the cannabis plant family. HB1085 was sponsored by Rep. Jack Montoucet, R-Crowly.

The second bill, HB1099, sponsored by Major Thibaut, D-New Roads, would legalize and set up a system set up a system for the production and distribution of medical marijuana. It would allow LSU Ag Center and the Southern University Ag Center to be the first to have rights to grow marijuana.

Production would be supervised by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. This bill would solve the problem of patients lgally prescribed marijuana in Louisiana but unable to obtain the drug.

Louisiana: New Orleans City Council Decriminalizes Marijuana

Louisiana marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new ordinance approved by the New Orleans City Council will allow city police to issue summons and small fines instead of arresting and jailing people accused of simple marijuana possession.

The guidelines were unanimously approved; proponents say they will allow police to focus on more serious, violent crime.

The new ordinance would allow police to issue a summons and charge a fine ranging from $40 to $100. The amount of the fine would depend on whether the person is a repeat offender.

Police would still be able to use harsher state laws including arrest, jail time, and higher fines if police think necessary.

Susan Guidry was the council member who proposed the ordinance. "I think that there is a trend throughout the country that we have been incarcerating too many people for nonviolent crimes," she said.

The regulations now go to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. If he signs the ordinance, it would go into effect in 90 days.

Louisiana: Politicians Considering Legalizing Marijuana

Louisiana weed.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Louisiana politicians are considering marijuana legalization for their state after seeing the success of Colorado's recreational program reported recently.

The Colorado Department of Revenue disclosed that more than $135 million in recreational marijuana taxes and fees were collected in 2015, $35 million of which was granted to Colorado schools.

Louisiana Gov. John Bill Edwards believes marijuana legalization can generate new tax revenue and help alleviate the state's $850 million budget deficit. Republicans in the state believe the answer is in substantial tax reductions.

KLFY News sources say a bill to legalize marijuana may be approved this session.

Lt Governor Billy Nungresser spoke out against the idea of cannabis legalization, stating, "I just don’t think it sends the right message that we’re going to legalize it because we have a budget problem."

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand spoke in a recent press conference, ranting, “The havoc it will wreak on our streets will be insurmountable."

Although considered a long shot, many think legalization in Louisiana could, and should, happen. Creating new tax revenue and businesses, as well as reducing the cash spent to prosecute and incarcerate cannabis users, legalization could prove to be a boon for Louisiana. It definitely appears to be working out for Colorado.

Louisiana: Sentencing Reprieve Requested For Man Given 13 Years For 2 Joints

BeNobleFreeNoble[StopTheDrugWar.org]

The Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday formally requested Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to grant Bernard Noble a gubernatorial reprieve and release him from prison, where he has served more than four years behind bars having been sentenced to a term of 13.3 years of hard labor without the opportunity for parole for possessing the equivalent of two marijuana cigarettes.

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution, the Governor has the absolute power to issue reprieves of persons convicted of crimes against the state. Drug Policy Alliance has written Governor Jindal asking him to exercise his power of office by staying Noble’s unjust sentence and setting him free.

Legislation signed into law by Governor Jindal earlier this year would make Noble a free man today had it been the law at the time of his offense. Because the new law is not retroactive in its application, a gubernatorial reprieve is required for Noble’s release. Noble has been a model prisoner during his incarceration.

Back in March, Gov. Jindal denied a clemency request from Noble; the reason given was that Noble hadn't yet served 10 years in prison.

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal Signs Marijuana Sentencing Reform Law

LousianaStateOutlineWithHandcuffsAndPotLeaf

New Law an Important Step Toward Reducing Louisiana’s Notoriously Overcrowded Prisons and Jails

Even With This Reform, Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws Remain Harsher Than Nearly All Other U.S. States; Majority of Louisianans Support Ending All Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Tuesday signed legislation to reform the state’s severely punitive marijuana laws and reduce criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession. The law is expected to save the state up to $17 million and will reduce the chances of Louisianans caught with small amounts of marijuana ending up with lengthy jail or prison sentences or saddled with a criminal conviction.

“Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at Drug Policy Action, the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It's a relief to see that smart policymakers are starting to recognize this political reality.”

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last twenty years and is nearly five times higher than Iran's, 13 times higher than China's and 20 times higher than Germany's.

One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.

Louisiana: Governor Denies Clemency To Man Serving 13 Years For 2 Joints

BeNobleFreeNoble[StopTheDrugWar.org]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently denied a clemency request from Bernard Noble, a man serving 13 years for possessing two joints.

The reason behind the denial was the Noble had not yet served 10 years in prison, reports Phillip Smith at AlterNet.

Noble's sentence is a prime example of the harsh nature of the marijuana laws in many parts of the country, according to Tony Papa at AlterNet.

"As someone who was sentenced to life in prison for a first time non-violent drug crime I know how important second chances are," Papa said. "In 1997 after serving 12 years I was granted executive clemency by New York Governor George Pataki."

"But in the case of Bernard Noble it seems that Louisiana's Governor Jindal has chosen not to show the compassion that our President has shown and instead ignores the injustice of Noble's case while he rots away in prison for 13 years for the possession of two joints," Papa said.

Under Louisiana law, possession of up to 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by six months in jail on a first offense, up to five years in prison for a second offense, and up to 20 years in prison for a third offense. Third-time offenders are not eligible for probation.

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal Expected To Sign Law Reducing Marijuana Penalties

LouisianaMapMarijuanaLeaf

New Law Would Be Important Step Toward Reducing Louisiana’s Notoriously Overcrowded Prisons and Jails

Even With This Reform, Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws Would Remain Harsher Than Nearly All Other U.S. States; Majority of Louisianans Support Ending All Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The Louisiana Legislature on Monday voted to reform its state’s severely punitive marijuana laws and reduce criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession. If signed into law, it’s expected to save the state up to $17 million and will reduce the chances of Louisianans caught with small amounts of marijuana ending up with lengthy jail or prison sentences or saddled with a criminal conviction.

“This is a long-sought opportunity to take a more compassionate and commonsense approach to marijuana,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step."

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last 20 years and is nearly five times higher than Iran's, 13 times higher than China's and 20 times higher than Germany's.

One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.

Louisiana: Senate Approves Bill To Reform Draconian Marijuana Possession Law

LouisianaCannabis

New Law Would Be Important Step Toward Reducing Louisiana’s Notoriously Overcrowded Prisons and Jails

Bill Now Heads to the House

Louisiana’s Senate on Monday took an important step toward reforming their state’s harsh marijuana possession law when they approved bill SB 241 by a vote of 27-12. If passed, Louisiana would join the growing number of states that have recently reduced penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

“This is a long-sought opportunity to take a more compassionate and commonsense approach to marijuana,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step."

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last twenty years and is nearly five times higher than Iran's, 13 times higher than China's and 20 times higher than Germany's. One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.

Louisiana: Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill Reforming Marijuana Possession Law

LouisianaMapMarijuanaLeaf

Measure Would Allow Second Chance for First-Time Offenders and Save Millions of Dollars

Bill Heads to Full Senate

Lawmakers in Louisiana on Wednesday took a major step forward when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to reform the state’s harsh marijuana possession law. If passed, Louisiana would join the growing number of states that have recently reduced penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

“This is a long-sought opportunity to take a more compassionate and commonsense approach to marijuana,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step."

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last 20 years and is nearly five times higher than Iran's, 13 times higher than China's and 20 times higher than Germany's.

One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the War On Drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.

Louisiana: Senate Approves Medical Marijuana; Bill Headed To House

FredMillsLouisianaSenate[EmilyLane-TimesPicayune]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Louisiana Senate on Monday approved legislation which would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis. Senate Bill 143, which spells out how the state's medical marijuana industry would work, was approved on a 22-13 vote.

If the bill is approved by the Louisiana House, patients with a doctor's authorization could obtain cannabis in non-smokable form at one of 10 dispensaries across the state, reports Emily Lane at the Times-Picayune. The bill passed on Monday approves one growing site.

SB 143, sponsored by Sen. Fred Mills (R-New Iberia), would restrict the use of "CBD only" medicinal cannabis in non-smokable forms to patients with glaucoma, spastric quadriplegia and for those undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

The Louisiana Legislature legalized medical marijuana in 1978 and then again in 1991, but neither bill allowed for legal dispensing of the herb; the Department of Health and Hospitals was supposed to write rules for dispensing it nearly a quarter century ago, but never did.

Three state agencies would have rule-making authority under Mills' bill: the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners would set rules about doctors' authorizations; the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy would set rules about dispensaries; and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture would set rules for the single grow site.

Louisiana: Residents' Tolerant Views On Marijuana Not Reflected By Harsh State Laws

LousianaStateOutlineWithHandcuffsAndPotLeaf

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Louisiana residents have a much more relaxed and tolerant approach toward marijuana than is reflected by their state's harsh laws, according to a statewide survey conducted by Louisiana State University this winter.

The university asked about three different marijuana polices, reports Julia O'Donoghue at The Times-Picayune.

First of all, the survey found that a majority of Louisianans oppose legal marijuana for personal use. Fifty-two percent of state residents still oppose legalizing cannabis for recreational use, but the gap between those who don't want to legalize and those who support it -- at 45 percent -- is shrinking.

In 2013, 56 percent said they opposed legalization, and 42 percent said they supported it, a gap of 14 points. Now, that gap has shrunk to just a seven-point difference.

Young adults ages 18-29 in Louisiana support legal marijuana, with 68 percent supporting and 32 percent opposed.

One state lawmaker has filed legislation to put possession, distribution and dispensing of cannabis on the Louisiana ballot on November 8, 2016. Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) said voters should get to decide whether pot becomes legal.

Secondly, the survey found that most Louisiana residents support medical marijuana. Sixty percent support medicinal pot, but for some reason that number has shrunk since last year, when 79 percent said they supported it.

Louisiana: New Directions New Orleans Brings Public Health Approach To Drug Policy

DPANewDirectionsNewOrleans

One-Day Conference Brings Elected Officials Together with Leading Drug Policy and Criminal Justice Experts to Chart a Health-Based Approach to Drug Policy

Louisiana Leads Nation in Incarceration Rates; Prison Population Has Doubled in Last 20 Years, With Staggering Racial Disparities

An unprecedented collection of drug policy stakeholders – including judges, elected officials, public health workers, law enforcement, and community advocates – will come together to chart a new course for Louisiana’s drug policies at New Directions New Orleans on Thursday, April 2 from 9 am-5 pm at Dillard University.

The one-day conference will provide Louisianans with the opportunity to engage many of the leading minds on drug policy and criminal justice reform from across the country and around the world, who will discuss strategies for moving beyond Drug War policies and toward a health-centered approach to drug use.

“Louisiana continues to strive to become a more population health focused state, but one of the outstanding issues we face are antiquated drug and criminal justice policies,” said Joe Kimbrell, CEO, Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). “This collaborative conference will be a strong starting point for these extraordinary partners to begin outlining what new policies and best practices we can utilize to educate our policymakers and create a safer, healthier Louisiana.”

Louisiana: Voters Could Decide On Marijuana Legalization Next Year

LouisianaCannabis

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Louisiana lawmaker has proposed putting marijuana legalization on the Presidential election ballot next year for a statewide vote.

Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) has filed a bill, HB 117, to put possession, distribution and dispensing of cannabis and its derivatives on the Louisiana ballot November 8, 2016, reports Julia O'Donoghue at The Times-Picayune. Voters would be deciding not just the Presidential race, but also Congressional seats that day.

In a Louisiana State University survey last year, 79 percent of Louisianans indicated support for some form of marijuana legalization. If Honore's initiative got on the ballot and passed, people 21 and older would be able to possess and buy cannabis without criminal charges.

"If I can get it to the people, it will pass with flying colors," Honore said.

According to Honore, criminal charges for marijuana have already ruined too many lives in Louisiana. As of June 2013, 1,372 Louisianans were serving prison sentences for simple cannabis possession. The average marijuana sentence in Louisiana is 8.4 years; more than 78 percent of these offenders are African American.

Syndicate content