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Louisianians Favor Marijuana Legalization, Poll Finds


Louisiana MarijuanaBy Phillip Smith

A poll released Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana found a slim majority favoring marijuana legalization. The Public Policy Polling survey had support for taxed and regulated marijuana legalization at 53% and support for medical marijuana at 65%.

The poll also found little support for the state’s current harsh marijuana laws, some of the most draconian in the nation. Under current Louisiana law, someone convicted of a marijuana offense can be sentenced to life without parole if he has a prior felony and prison terms of up to 20 years for repeat marijuana possession offenders.

But only 22% of respondents favored life without parole for felons busted for pot, and only 32% favored the long prison sentences for simple possession, even for repeat offenders. Yet oddly enough, only 47% supported making a six month jail sentence and a fine the maximum sentence for repeat possession offenders.

“People understand that criminalizing marijuana has wasted public funds, has not made anyone safer, and that marijuana is not the danger it was thought to be,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “Despite last session’s failure to pass a bill to reform marijuana sentencing (House Bill 103), marijuana law reform is coming to Louisiana. Voters in this state are in agreement with the rest of America that marijuana should be taxed and regulated,” Esman said.

HB 103 would have reduced sentences for simple marijuana possession from 20 years in prison to two years for a third offense conviction, and no more than five years for a subsequent offense. It was watered down in the House before going to the Senate, where it was killed.

“This new poll also shows that a majority of Louisiana voters think it’s time to change the state’s outdated and overly harsh marijuana sentencing laws,” said Esman. “The ACLU stands with the 59% of Louisianans who oppose long prison sentences, and 64% who oppose a sentence of life without parole for a marijuana offense.”

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Johnny Green


  1. I’m born and raised cajun and enjoy smoking and just sick of having to worry about getting busted with huge fines and jail time it’s time to decriminalize

  2. Amen to all comments in favor of decriminalization of marijuana. The reasons its illegal dates back to 1920’s and are just stupid and ridiculous. The is an excellent video on youtube that speaks to this in detail. (under “the best marijuana documentary you”ll ever watch.” Seriously, that’s the title..lol.

  3. I live in louisiana and I hate this ridiculous state. Ill never leave tho. if i left id starve to death so i cant go. The only good thing down here is the food and the people. They sure do know how to party. And i think the food has crack in it. Smoke on everyone the world will be a better place if everyone just passed the blunt lol

  4. If you have a problem with the thinking of the people of the great state of Louisiana, take a look at the state map.
    It’s enough to give anybody an inferiority complex.
    I say we go kick the stuffing out of Ole Miss and get that chunk back!
    Whose idea was that anyway?!

  5. The saints won the Super Bowl in 2009 and the citizens poll 53% for outright legalization and 65% for medical MJ. Wow…. Hell is freezing over. I’m begging for the legislature to really look at medical next session and will be pressuring lawmakers to make the change. I can’t wait to see how the congressional hearings go tomotrrow.

  6. I hear you, but at least in New Orleans, Mayor Landrieu signed a law back in 2011 making marijuana a non arrestable municipal citation. I would hope that when Jindal gets the hell out of office by January 2016, Louisiana and New Orleans can move forward, since they have the support of the majority of the people for legalization. Did you know that Louisiana’s previous governor, Kathleen Blanco did support medical marijuana (of course she was derailed by Katrina) and so did former US Representative Charlie Melancon. When my state comes around on the issue, I hope you will come and enjoy our Mardi Gras and good food. Then we can truly say, Laissez le Bontemps roulez! Regards.

  7. I guess I’ll take Mardis Gras off my bucket list…..no sense givin’ that back-assward state my revenue and risking gettin’ “Busted, down on Bourbon Street…” B|

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