Marijuana possession sentences would be lessened under bill approved by House panel

By Jeff Adelson, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

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Penalties for repeated convictions for possession of marijuana possession would be dramatically reduced under a measure working its way through the Louisiana House. The measure, House Bill 103, would also prevent people from being considered a habitual offender if all of their convictions were for marijuana possession. (NOLA.com|Times-Picayune File Photo)

Penalties for repeated convictions for possession of marijuana would be dramatically reduced under a measure working its way through the Louisiana House. Repeat offenders — those convicted only of marijuana possession — also would no longer face sentencing as habitual offenders.

House Bill 103, by Rep. Austin Badon, would drop the maximum penalty for a second conviction to one year and cut 18 years off the highest sentence for all additional convictions.

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Rep. Austin BadonNOLA.com|Times-Picayune File Photo

The committee unanimously agreed to send the bill to the House floor.

Badon and other supporters of the measure argued that reducing the penalties is not just a moral issue but a move that could save taxpayers money because the state will no longer be paying to keep pot smokers behind bars for long stretches.

“They’re clogging up the jails right now and the taxpayers have to pay for it,” he said.

 

Full Article:

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/marijuana_possession_sentences.html