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Polls Find Maryland, Florida Ready for Marijuana Reform

October 5th

Polls from two more states this week show an increasing acceptance of the need to reform marijuana laws. In a Florida poll, Sunshine State voters said they were ready to back medical marijuana, while in a Maryland poll, Old Line State voters said they were ready to decriminalize and/or legalize the weed. Voters in the […]

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New Orleans Police Officer Jailed for 2012 Killing of Wendell Allen

August 23rd

NEW ORLEANS, LA — A New Orleans police officer who gunned down an unarmed 20-year-old man during a 2012 marijuana raid pleaded guilty to manslaughter last Friday and was led off to begin serving a four-year prison sentence. Joshua Colclough, 29, who resigned from the force the previous day, apologized to the family of his victim, Wendell […]

Read New Orleans Police Officer Jailed for 2012 Killing of Wendell Allen in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Bill to Reduce Mandatory Minimums for Marijuana Dies in Louisiana Senate without Debate

June 10th

BATON ROUGE, LA —  In a state with a reputation for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, an attempt to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for repeat marijuana possession offenses died on the Louisiana Senate floor Thursday.

The bill, House Bill 103, needed a two-thirds vote of state senators to even be brought up for debate this late in the 2013 legislative session, and failed three times to gather the necessary votes to debate the bill.

An amended version of House Bill 103, which was passed by the Louisiana House on May 29, would have reduced  jail time to not more than two years for the second marijuana possession offense,  five years for third-time offenders and eight years for those convicted four or more times. The maximum fine for possession would have also been lessened from $5,000 to $2,500.

The original proposal sought to lower the maximum penalty for a second marijuana possession offense from five years imprisonment to no more than one-year. It would have lowered the maximum penalty for a subsequent marijuana conviction from 20-years imprisonment to no more than two-years.  That version of the bill failed in the Louisiana House in May.

After the bill’s sponsor, Rep. READ MORE

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Louisiana House Passes Bill to Reduce Mandatory Minimums for Marijuana

May 30th

Prisoner Holding Cigarette Between Bars

BATON ROUGE, LA —  In a state with a reputation for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, an amended version of a bill that would reduce mandatory minimum penalties for repeat marijuana possession offenses was approved by the Louisiana House on Wednesday.

The bill now heads to the Senate with just over a week left in the 2013 legislative session.

Current law requires a third or subsequent conviction of marijuana possession to be punished by up to 20 years in prison. This felony conviction is often used to enhance the prison sentence when the offender has at least two other felony convictions.  For first time offenders, possession of less than 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 6 months of imprisonment.

House Bill 103, sponsored by Rep. Austin J. Badon, Jr. (D-New Orleans), would reduce  jail time to not more than two years for the second marijuana possession offense,  five years for third-time offenders and eight years for those convicted four or more times. The maximum fine for possession would also be lessened from $5,000 to $2,500.

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