State lawmakers weigh pros and cons of legalizing marijuana - KLFY News 10

State lawmakers weigh pros and cons of legalizing marijuana

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Tuesday afternoon state lawmakers will make their case on if Louisiana should or should not legalize marijuana in Louisiana.

In 2013, lawmakers failed to pass legislation to lessen the penalties for repeat offenders but, some Acadiana residents feel very strongly about being denied the right to use marijuana freely.

Louisiana law says anyone convicted of any amount of marijuana, even a single joint can be jailed for up to six months, and repeat offenders can face up to five years jail time. Some marijuana supporters are hoping for a positive outcome of today's hearing.

Rhonda Evans, PhD University of Louisiana at Lafayette Criminal Justice Department Head says, "I think it's unlikely that our state leaders will recommend legalizing marijuana at this point in our states history. I believe that the opinion of the masses is that marijuana is very harmful and has dangerous impacts on society.

Local entrepreneur and co founder of Above The Earth, Stanford Joseph, says their organization represents what it truly means to be "Above The Earth". "It's about awareness, getting messages to the masses that the message might not get. It's about expression, it's about interpersonal connections through subcultures, it's about higher levels of consciousness, it's about you, it's about me, it's about us!" Joseph stands firmly behind legalizing marijuana in Louisiana.

"I feel like legalizing Louisiana should be done. People think marijuana is addictive and it's a gateway drug, but at the end of the day people do what they want to do." Joseph adds there are several substances and entities that can cause addiction, "caffeine can be addictive, video games can be addictive, social networks can be addictive alcohol is very addictive."

Kristen Flemming, Lafayette Resident and supporter of legalizing marijuana in Louisiana says, "People can use it for medicine. It's a stress reliever. The same reason people go home and drink a glass of wine, people can go home and smoke a joint and it does the same exact thing. If the legislature would agree to put the question to voters, Dr. Evans does not believe it would pass.

"If the public was more educated actual impacts of marijuana use and impacts of incarcerating large numbers of individuals due to minor drug use, I think you may have more favorable reaction to legalization" said Evans.

 

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