As folks in New Orleans gear up for Fat Tuesday by preparing their best garments, beads, and of course, booze, marijuana advocates contemplate the day when pot will become an option in a city known for it's excessive alcohol consumption.
Mardi Gras is the time where tourists and citizens of New Orleans alike, don't just get drunk, but belligerently drunk, as they joyfully take part in the city's parades, festivities, celebrations, and debaucheries. Despite federal government statistics showing that marijuana is safer than alcohol
, as well as polls indicating that 80% of residents support medical marijuana , Louisiana Legislature denied a bill last year that would have made marijuana legal in the Pelican state.
The Louisiana Sheriffs Association (LSA) even shot down efforts to lessen the monetary penalties for marijuana possession last year, further showing the divide between the voice of the people and the powers that be. To date, Louisiana has some of the toughest and questionably, the most biased laws in the U.S. when it comes to marijuana. According to data from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in 2014 "of the 1,372 Louisianans currently incarcerated on marijuana possession charges, over 78% were black. The average sentence is 8.4 years." In other words, the LSA has no reason to legalize marijuana, since the current prison industrial complex model, concerning the drug, is working so well.
Even though marijuana legalization seems out the question in the current economic model of Louisiana, two legislators have proposed bills to allow medical marijuana in state, which is in dire need of marijuana reform. Although Louisiana Legislature legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 1991, the law didn't specify how patients would acquire the herb and actually went as far as to make it illegal for those selling it, thus making the middle man, a criminal.
These new marijuana bills, which are scheduled to be heard by Louisiana Legislature this spring, should offer a breath of fresh air in addressing the long standing issue of Louisiana's losing drug war on marijuana.Stay tuned, you'll have to wait until Louisiana gets their act together before you see Marijuana Packaging's glass pipes
float in the Mardi Gras Parade!