WTF: This outrageous 18-year sentence for 18 grams of pot was upheld by the Louisiana Sup Court

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This just makes my blood boil. 18 years without the possibility of parole for pot possession?! Looks like the chief justice was out raged too. Great profile on this dissent below.


Eighteen years for 18 grams.

That’s the prison sentence Gary Howard received after he was arrested in 2013 and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and illegal possession of a firearm. He was acquitted of the gun charge but, because of his status as a repeat offender, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison on the other count—a year for every gram of marijuana—without the possibility of parole.

The Louisiana Supreme Court, in an opinion issued Wednesday, upheld Howard’s sentence, but the chief justice of the state’s high court, Bernette Johnson, wrote a scathing dissent:

I find it outrageous that defendant’s conviction of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and sentence of 18 years imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, resulting from the discovery of a mere 18 grams of marijuana, will be allowed to stand. Considering the rapidly relaxing social attitudes toward the use of marijuana, the increasing number of states whose voters have approved the recreational use of marijuana,1 and changing laws (even in Louisiana)2 providing more lenient penalties relative to marijuana possession, the result of this case is even more ridiculous[…]



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