Marijuana Legalization

LACDL Adopts Marijuana Policy Statement

 

I am happy to report that the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (LACDL) voted last week to adopt an official policy statement related to the possession and use of marijuana. The 2014 legislative session has a number of marijuana-related bills up for debate. The LACDL Marijuana Policy Statement is as follows:

 

We believe that marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts students, lower income classes, African Americans, and other ethnic minorities who bear the brunt of cannabis arrests and prosecutions. The responsible consumption of marijuana by adults in private should not be defined as criminal behavior deserving of arrest, potential jail time, a criminal record, and the lifelong stigma that accompanies it. Criminalizing marijuana is a disproportionate response to what, at worst, is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue.

 

The LACDL Board of Directors unanimously voted to adopt the official Marijuana Policy Statement.

 

About LACDL

 

The Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (LACDL) is the only professional association of attorneys devoted exclusively to the profession of Criminal Defense. The LACDL mission is to promote a fair, accurate, and humane criminal justice system through education, advocacy, and the development of effective and professional defense lawyers. For more about LACDL, please visit www.LACDL.org.

 

 

Possession of Marijuana & Drug Paraphernalia — Kenner

 

 

If you have been arrested or charged with possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia in Kenner.  Contact our firm to speak with a New Orleans Drug Crimes Defense Attorney.

 

Kenner Municipal Code Sec. 7-191. —  Possession of Marijuana

 

Marijuana is hereby defined as follows:

Marijuana means all parts of the plants of the Genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin, but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.

 

Kenner Municipal Code Sec. 7-192. —  Drug paraphernalia

 

Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context clearly otherwise indicates, the term “drug paraphernalia” shall mean and include, but not be limited to:

 

All equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation on the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, as scheduled in LA-R.S. 40:964.

 

Prohibited Acts:  It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, any drug paraphernalia; to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this part.

 

Penalties:   Anyone who violates the provision of this section shall subject the offender to a fine not in excess of five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment of not more than sixty (60) days, or both.

 

 

New Bill Would Eradicate Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Marijuana Possession In Louisiana

New Orleans Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

 

Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law — New Orleans Marijuana Defense Attorney

 

Serving Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. John, Baton Rouge, St. Charles, Plaquemines Parishes.

 

New Bill Would Eradicate Mandatory Minimum Sentences For

Marijuana Possession In Louisiana

 

Both the Louisiana House and Senate will reconvene for the 2013 Legislative Session in April 8, 2013.  As an attorney, I subscribe to email alerts regarding legislative news.  This evening I was thrilled to see a proposed bill that would eradicate mandatory minimum sentences for Marijuana Possession.

 

This bill is House Bill 103, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans.  The proposed bill will lessen penalties for repeat offenders and not subject offenders to Louisiana’s Habitual Offender Law (RS La 15:529.1).    This new law would also apply to synthetic cannabinoids.

 

I am actually opposed to the legalization of synthetic cannabinoids due to the severe health complications associated with its use.  Of course, complete legalization of Marijuana would obliterate the demand for synthetic cannabinoids.

 

As a final thought, I think that Representative Badon is going to have a battle to fight in Baton Rouge over this new bill.  The state and local governments as well as substance abuse clinics love the money that they can extort out of people who are found guilty of Marijuana Possession.

 

The following is a chart demonstrating the proposed changes to the law:

 

house-bill-103--8c8d7dbeb88fb218

If you or a loved one has been charged with a Marijuana Offense in New Orleans area.  Contact a New Orleans Drug Crime Attorney – Elizabeth B. Carpenter.  We offer discounted fee for Marijuana Offenses!

 

 

Appeals Court Considers Marijuana Reclassification — New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney

 

NEW ORLEANS MARIJUANA DEFENSE ATTORNEY

 

 

If you have been arrested for a Marijuana Offense in LouisianaElizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.  Our fees are always discounted for Marijuana Offenses.

 

Serving Clients in Orleans Parish, St. Tammany Parish, St. John Parish, St. James Parish, St. Bernard Parish, St. Charles Parish, Assumption Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Plaquemines Parish and Jefferson Parish.

 

 

Appeals Court Considers Marijuana Reclassification

 

 

More than 10 years after it was initially filed, the latest petition to remove marijuana from Schedule Iof the Controlled Substances Act is finally giving the herb its day in court. The current classification lumps cannabis in with drugs such as heroin, LSD and mescaline.

The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this week in the case of Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, providing an opening for medical marijuana reform advocates to challenge the conventional law enforcement contention that marijuana has a “high potential for abuse” and is “without accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

Joe Elford, Chief Counsel for Americans for Safe Access, described an endless cycle orchestrated by federal drug enforcers in an effective effort to keep marijuana on Schedule I indefinitely. He argued that the Department of Health and Human Services is actively stifling much-needed research into marijuana’s medical benefits, citing the Schedule I classification as the basis for controlling research. The DEA completes the cycle by arguing that marijuana can’t be removed from Schedule I because there isn’t enough available research. This strategy has for years put a stranglehold on any opportunity for federally-accepted research into the medical marijuana benefits found in other studies.

“They’ve created a catch-22 so that they never have to be responsible for moving marijuana off of Schedule I,” said Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access. “They’re placing politics before science.”

 

DEA attorney Lena Watkins argued that the federal government does allow for research into the medical efficacy of marijuana, and that there have been 15 such studies that have met the government’s exacting standards. When asked by the three-judge panel why those studies have not convinced the DEA that marijuana has a legitimate medical use, Watkins said, “we don’t have the final results yet.”

Watkins reminded the court that neither state legislatures nor voters are qualified to judge the accepted medical use of marijuana, and stressed that “marijuana is the most widely abused drug in America.”

“The DEA often argues that just by the fact that marijuana is used by so many in the United States, that it’s tantamount to having high potential for abuse,” Hermes said. “That’s a ludicrous standard, and it’s not consistent with the way it’s used by the FDA.”

 

Key Legal Hurdle

The issue that tripped up two prior appeals of marijuana’s classification may be the downfall of this effort as well: A plaintiff must prove that he’s been harmed in order to have legal standing to sue. Past attempts to reschedule the drug failed because the plaintiffs weren’t able to prove this to the court’s satisfaction.

Before adjourning, the appeals court ordered the plaintiffs to provide supplemental briefing to make their case for standing, indicating it could be a fatal stumbling block yet again.

“They’re taking the standing issue very seriously,” Hermes said.

The plaintiff in this case is Michael Krawitz, a disabled United States Air Force veteran. Krawitz uses medical marijuana in combination with more conventional medications to alleviate pain resulting from a military service injury. But Krawitz is being denied medical services by the Department of Veterans Affairs because he’s a medical marijuana patient.

Krawitz said marijuana’s Schedule I classification has “caused my fellow patients to be imprisoned, be denied work, be denied housing, be denied the right to a firearm, and be removed from transplant lists.”

“Despite being an Oregon card-holding medical marijuana patient, I’ve had to access medical treatment for my pain outside the VA,” Krawitz said, adding that “this is done openly as punishment to stop me from using cannabis.”

 

A Curious Question

Since the appeal of this petition was granted, medical marijuana advocates have argued that regardless of the outcome, the opportunity to bring evidence of marijuana’s medical benefits before a court is a victory in itself.

They may need to look for victories where they can, as Judge Merrick Garland asked one question that suggested an ominous outcome.

“Don’t we have to defer to the agency?” he asked, referring to the DEA. “We’re not scientists. They are.”

Far from being scientists, the DEA is a federal law enforcement agency operating within the Department of Justice.

Do you think that marijuana should be removed from Schedule I? How do you think it should be classified? Let us know in the comments section below.

 
Attorney Elizabeth B Carpenter has been a supporter of reforming Marijuana Laws for many years.  Currently, Louisiana has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, and it has the fifth-highest marijuana arrest rate in the United States.  Additionally, Louisiana has never had a law that effectively protects medical marijuana patients from arrest. In the last several sessions, Louisiana legislators have been too busy trying to increase marijuana penalties and refusing to introduce compassionate medical marijuana legislation.

 

 

 

Louisianans must form a united front and remain determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana prohibition and accomplish decriminalization, no matter how long it takes to succeed.  

 

 

New Hampshire House Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Louisiana Marijuana Defense Attorney

 

Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. – Serving clients in Orleans, Jefferson, Terrebonne, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Tammany, St. John, Assumption and Plaquemines Parishes.

 

Support the decriminalization of Marijuana!

 

New Hampshire House Passes

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

by Phillip Smith, stopthedrugwar.org

The New Hampshire House barely passed a marijuana decriminalization bill Thursday. The bill squeaked by on a 162-161 vote, not enough to overcome a threatened veto by Gov. John Lynch (D).

New Hampshire State Capitol, Corcord (wikimedia.org)

Supporters were able to win passage only after Republican House Speaker Bill O’Brien abstained, allowing the one-vote victory.

The bill, House Bill 1526, would make possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana a civil infraction for the first and second offenses, with fines capped at $250 and $500, respectively. Subsequent offenses would be misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Current law specifies up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine for any simple marijuana possession offense.

The bill is “a measured and calculated reduction in penalties,” wrote Rep. Kyle Tasker (R-Nottingham) in a report on the measure he wrote for the Criminal Justice Committee, which earlier approved it. It has worked well in neighboring states that have adopted it, he added.

But Gov. Lynch has promised to veto the measure if it makes it past the Senate.

“Marijuana is a controlled drug that remains illegal under federal law. New Hampshire parents are working to keep their kids away from marijuana and other drugs. We should not make the jobs of parents — or law enforcement — harder by sending a false message that some marijuana use is acceptable,” Lynch spokesman Colin Manning told theAssociated Press after the vote.

Fourteen states have decriminalized marijuana possession, including New Hampshire neighbors Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut.

Concord, NH

United States

Louisiana Marijuana Laws

 

 

NEW ORLEANS MARIJUANA ATTORNEY

 

 

Attorney Elizabeth B Carpenter has been a supporter of reforming Marijuana Laws for many years.  Currently, Louisiana has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, and it has the fifth-highest marijuana arrest rate in the United States.  Additionally, Louisiana has never had a law that effectively protects medical marijuana patients from arrest. In the last several sessions, Louisiana legislators have been too busy trying to increase marijuana penalties and refusing to introduce compassionate medical marijuana legislation.

 

If you have been arrested for a Marijuana Offense in LouisianaElizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.  Our fees are always discounted for Marijuana Offenses.

 

Serving Clients in Orleans Parish, St. Tammany Parish, St. John Parish, St. James Parish, St. Bernard Parish, St. Charles Parish, Assumption Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Plaquemines Parish and Jefferson Parish.

 

Louisianans must form a united front and remain determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana prohibition and accomplish decriminalization, no matter how long it takes to succeed.  

 

LOUISIANA MARIJUANA LAWS

 

Marijuana Possession & Personal Use Penalties & Punishments in the State of Louisiana
Possession Severity of Crime Incarceration Fine
Any amount (first offense) misdemeanor 6 months $500
Any amount (second offense) felony 0-5 years $2,000
Any amount (third or subsequent offense) felony 0-20 years $5,000
Possession within 1,000 feet of school, church or public housing felony MMS* of 1/2 maximum penalty variable
Miscellaneous (paraphernalia, license suspensions, drug tax stamps, etc…)
Paraphernalia possession or sale (first offense) misdemeanor 6 months $500
Paraphernalia possession or sale (second offense) misdemeanor 1 year $1,000

MMS* —  Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

 

Details

 

Cultivation, Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana:

  • Less than 60 pounds of marijuana: is punishable by 5 – 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

 

  • More than 60 pounds of marijuana: is punishable by 10-60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 – $100,000.

 

  • More than 2,000 pounds the punishment ranges from 10 – 40 years in prison and a fine of $100,000 – $400,000.

 

  • More than 10,000 pounds the penalty increases to 25 – 40 years in prison and a fine of $400,000 – $1,000,000.

 

*Any sale to a minor at least three years younger than the seller doubles the possible penalties.

*For felony possession or sale within 1,000 feet of a school, religious building or public housing the penalty includes a mandatory minimum sentence of at least one half of the maximum penalty for the offense.

 

Possession or Sale of Paraphernalia:

  • First Offense is punished by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • Second offense the penalty increases to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Third offense, the penalty is up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

 

MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum.

 

 

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