Opinions on the use of marijuana vary wildly from state to state. Some argue for allowing for medical use, while others favor decriminalization or complete legalization and still others prefer maintaining the status quo when it comes to this drug. In some states, law enforcement is softening in its views on marijuana. Louisiana, however, appears to not be one of those states. If you have any doubts, consider the following statistics.
Recent data suggests that Louisiana, along with Illinois, Mississippi, Maryland and New York, has one of the highest rates of arrests for marijuana in the country. The Bayou State reportedly comes in fourth in the nation in such arrests per 100,000 citizens — 513 — and third for number of such arrests for every 100,000 marijuana users in the state — 14,910.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, from 1995 to 2010, the number of arrests nationwide for possession of marijuana rose dramatically. Of the 1.7 million nationwide arrests for drugs in 2010, approximately 784,000 were for possession of marijuana.
Opponents of high arrest rates for marijuana offenses argue that these arrests needlessly fill prisons with non-violent offenders who have simply used a substance considered legal and relatively harmless in some other states.
According to the ACLU, there is an overwhelming racial imbalance when it comes to such arrests. From 2001 to 2010, the arrest rates for possession of marijuana among black individuals were consistently significantly higher than that of white individuals.
If you find yourself charged with a marijuana offense, you may want to consider contacting an attorney as soon as possible. He or she may be able to fight to have the charges reduced or the case thrown out altogether.
Source: Vox, “These maps show how likely you are to get arrested for smoking weed,” German Lopez, May 26, 2014