06/14 - Pot or Not? The Decriminalization Debate (Encore Presentation) | Louisiana Public Square | LPB
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06/14 - Pot or Not? The Decriminalization Debate (Encore Presentation)

Would a reduction in penalties encourage more usage and lead the state down a path to legalization?

Mandatory drug sentences cost Louisiana taxpayers millions of dollars to incarcerate people charged with simple possession of marijuana. Would a reduction in penalties encourage more usage and lead the state down a path to legalization? Or does Louisiana - which ranks among the top ten states for drug use - need further reinforcements in its battle against this “gateway drug”? Louisiana Public Square explores the pros and cons of legalization on an encore presentation of “Pot or Not? The Decriminalization Debate” airing Wednesday, June 25 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.

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Legalization is happening all over the united states in one way or the other.  Look at Kentucky, the DEA just stepped down and let them grow hemp for industrial purposes.  I, for one, feel that it should be legalized for industrial purposes, as wall as for financial purposes.  The drug cartels and black market will all go away and the would will be a safer place for everyone.

Posted by Bert Sandavol in Colorado  on  05/28  at  03:42 PM

This story will not go away. Hope this passes.

Posted by Tom  on  06/11  at  10:57 AM

Well in 1978 is when the doctors at a hospital thought I had Lupus but I didn’t but that’s when I was having trouble with pelvic pains bad and worse when menstruating. Stayed in bed for 9 days back then. Had to have a partial hysterectomy in 2004. I was feeling good after that. I worked in the medical field since 1994 until 2010. Now I’m on disability bc the pain is so intense that most days I’m not able to do anything. Thank God for my husband and his understanding. He works and helps me here in the house. He is a God sent. I have been having fibro since 1978. It wasn’t bad at all until Nov. 2009 when I was at work climbing two flights of stairs. It became unbearable to climb anymore. I feel it had intensified since then an I had to quit my job in June 2010 couldn’t stand the excruciating pain. Hurting all over my body. The statistics are that this disease isn’t a progressive disease, but I believe differently. I have mire pain then I have ever felt in my body. I went to a rheumatologist and he then diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and I have CFS along with Osteoarthritis. My parents has these illnesses. My doctor put me on Gabapentin 300 mg twice a day, Skelaxin 800 mg I take half in the am and the other half in the evening, Diclofenac 25 mg once a day, DHEA once a day, Naltrexone once a day and Turmeric once a day. All these meds don’t really help all that much when the pain is intense or in a flare which is pretty often. I h a ve spasms in every muscle in my body. The only thing I can do is to take these meds and use a heating pad. Sometimes I use a tens unit my husband had from a long time ago, but nothing but time really helps when flaring. I cry with this pain bc I hurt so bad I feel like it will drive me crazy. Sometimes I cant walk at all and most times I have trouble walking at all. I had to buy a small fence to put around my back door to let my furbabies out bc I couldn’t go walk them around the yard anymore. Lately I have been more in bed then ever and I’m not a person to stay in bed. My doctor has asked me if I wanted him to prescribe me a wheelchair, but I don’t have a ramp nor a vehicle to tote it in. My arms hurt too bad to lift it from the vehicle even if I do have all the means in the world for it. I don’t look forward to the future bc I do see myself in one try to keep fighting until then. This is why I need this to be legal in Louisiana.

Posted by Carolyn Sanchez  on  06/25  at  08:35 PM

I agree with Mr.Bert Sandavol 100%.
I have *** Pot for the last 40 years. It has been my experience being around pot as a young man that smoking pot vs. drinking alcohol was a more peaceful celebration with almost -0- collateral damage and deaths in way of traffic fatalities.
Lets take the criminal element out of pot along with the strain of our law enforcement & reef the commercialization & taxable, financial benefits.

Posted by Leland Prejean  on  06/25  at  08:38 PM

I was just watching this program an one of your panels made the remark about someone smoking pot and working on an oil platform an saying how dangers this would be, I’ve been around a lot of pot smokers and alcohol users an have seen it first hand that 1 out of 100 pot smokers get violent were as 75 out of a 100 alcohol users get violent. Now if I’m working on an oil platform I’d be more worried about someone being drunk and violent then someone being stoned an mellow. This country spends 25 billion per year trying to fight pot coming into this country an has been losing that fight year after year. 25 billion could help a lot of people who are having trouble making ends meet.

I look at it this way, California makes between $59 - $119 million, Colorado makes $6 million, Washington $2.5 million, Arizona $2 million, New Mexico $650 thousands, Maine $637 thousands and Rhode Island $429 thousands per year in tax revenues, would we be better off if were making money from it than losing money from it? I’d personally would love to see medical marijuana come to this state, I suffer from spinal nerve damage an my medication only releaves 40% of my pain and it being made from opium is a lot more dangers to my health than marijuana would be and would most likely help me a lot more.

Think about it these way too, cigarettes are legal yet kill millions per year, alcohol is legal yet kill thousands per year and the companies that make them support the people that are fighting to keep marijuana illegal and these same people same they care about us, BS.

Posted by PAUL R HARBECK  on  06/25  at  08:48 PM

The state is loading a lot of money in many ways, note legalizeing pot. I much reath dill with a pot smoker than a drunk. Its just a joke if you ask me for not doing it. The police and the courts don’t want it legal cause they make so much money. Put the money some place else where it will do more good. It could generate money for schools and highway. God knows we have the sorry s schools in the union. Could hire some real teachers instead of what we got. I could go on and on but to him this may concern were not going to do right thing.

Posted by kenny Doss  on  06/26  at  09:56 AM

you can discuss this topic until your blue in the face.what I see is a bunch of old people on their last leg who aren’t even going to be alive in a few years and have never tried the stuff and whos opinon is irrelevant because their dying off debating with youngsters who have tried it and will be the next legislators drs and lawyers whos opinion does matter.wait a few yrs and these old foggies will be gone and we can do what we like.secondly I would much rather work or ride in a car with someone who is high on marijuana than someone who has been drinking.and alcohol is leagal.that is insane.third and last,if you make it legal and charge 200.00 per oz im still going to buy it from my buddy for 60.00 per oz.its a moot point because wether or not its legalized makes absoloutly no difference to someone who is ready to smoke a big fat one.just hang in there guys our generation will be running things shortly!

Posted by bill bonu  on  06/26  at  09:58 AM

Too bad our society believes we need “something” in order to feel good. It is a stupid concept. The question is when will be, as a society, learn to be on a “natural high”. No one NEEDS anything to alter their state, they WANT. Too many people smoke pot in their home and neglect their families and job. Use of any altering substance renders that person unavailable for those in their family and work. Mr. Scott: felony records prevent education opportunities and hiring opportunities. The courts have no regard for simple possession. The felony records are a disaster. P.S. I have never smoked, used alcohol or drugs.

Posted by Janie Lipscomb  on  06/26  at  09:59 AM

A very close friend is an emergency room physician in Colorado. She says that legalization is a total disaster. The war on drugs is a flop. Legalization is a flop. The criminal charges do a lifetime of harm. Expungement needs to be more available and not costs thousands of dollars.. Medical? Bologna. Other medications are usually as effective.

Posted by Janie Lipscomb  on  06/26  at  10:02 AM

Pot is seldom the only drug used by a user. Ultimately they mix drugs and use whatever is available. Drug courts fail and often get those sentenced to drug court using soboxone, a form of methodone. Tremendous confilct of interest w/councilers who also work for M.D.‘s who dispense soboxone. Charles Scott is simply inaccurate. The greater problem is children having children, unparented children and the breakdown of general society. This is a result of a drug society. Jails are failing. The DOC and others MUST offer better rehabilitation and socialization. It is not a black/white issue. It is a higher income vs lower income issue. the rich can afford to handle the legal issue differently. Addicts are virtually unemployable. It is a monumental loss to society.

Posted by Janie Lipscomb  on  06/26  at  10:03 AM

If marijuana is a “gateway” drug” now as an illegal substance, would it still be a “gateway” drug” if it were legal? BTY, ask any police officer, attorney, doctor, or any other professional if he/she has ever smoked marijuana.  A large percent will say that they have.  How did they become a professional IF it was a “gateway drug”?  People will still become addicted to cocaine, crystal meth, prescription drugs, etc. WITHOUT marijuana.

Why not legalize marijuana with limitations and tax it as a government controlled substance (which would contribute to selected ingredients and growing practices)?  This way, our state can benefit from the taxation INSTEAD of drug dealers (who live such lavish lives while the working class strives).

Even just try and legalize marijuana and see the results.

Posted by Christy  on  06/29  at  11:22 AM

I had been a bartender for many years and my experience is that I would rather smoke a joint and be around people who smoke rather than people that drink.I do not even go out to bars anymore because when people drink they get violent and unhappy and can’t function as with people that smoke are happy go lucky people that try not to let life and other people bring them down and just want to enjoy the time they have at that moment.I am a working mother with two children I smoke pot I do not do anything else but occasionally drink 2 or 3 beers I don’t like to drink anymore and will never do pills or any other type of drug that destroys your mind,body and life,I take care of my kids,my animals,and my home.I do everything I can for them.I am very watchful of my children i want to know where they are and what they are doing at all times,I try and teach them right from wrong and to stay away from drugs and out of trouble.I am not a bad person because I smoke pot and I am not a lazy person either,in fact I wear myself completely down because I’m always doing something and I try to teach my kids that you need to work hard in life..I have a ruptured disc,and bulging disc in my back,and spinal stenosises of the neck and my hips are slightly crooked all on my left side.I used to have migraines really bad but I haven’t had one since i started smoking again I still get headaches but normal ones,I get pain through my hips and down my legs,in my neck and shoulders,and I refuse to take pain pills they make me sick plus I would rather take something natural that doesn’t effect me i so many ways.When I smoke I am still in my right state of being just more in tune and aware and I drive safer now I don’t speed anymore.I am a peaceful calm person my husband and I do not fight at all,my kids drive me crazy sometimes though lol but it’s ok.I wish it was legal because I don’t want to have to buy from a dealer and go down in the ghetto some wheres where I feel like a criminal.If people can go to the store and buy cigarettes and liquor witch causes more health problems and problems with our society than why not pot witch is naturally grown nothing else added to it like all this pharmaceuticals all these doctors wanna give you witch has 20 different side effects and has millions of people addicted..Pot doesn’t change you,if your a *deleted* before you smoke guess what your going to be after,if your a responsible hardworking person you are still going to be that it doesn’t change who you are it just helps relieve stress and pain and so many other great benefits…

Posted by michele  on  07/09  at  09:55 AM

I think this weed thing is the greatest.

Posted by tom  on  08/01  at  12:43 AM
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     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?
In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation.

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem?

Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.

Our panelists are:
• E. Pete Adams, Executive Director, La. District Attorneys Association
• Alanah Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana & Justice Reinvestment Task Force
• Andrew Hundley, Louisiana Parole Project
• Sec. Jimmy LeBlanc, La. Department of Corrections

The program features interviews with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry; Rep. Terry Landry, D- New Iberia, with the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Council; Deputy Assistant Secretary Natalie Laborde, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections; and Stephanie Riegel, editor of the Baton Rouge Business Report.

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and professor Robert Mann with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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