Written by Patrick Flanagan
Louisiana’s Libertarians are saying its high time for marijuana’s legalization here.
“As Libertarians, we’re for freedom on every issue, and we believe people should be able to smoke marijuana if they want,” says Wes Benedict, chairman of the Baton Rouge Libertarians and former executive director of the national Libertarian Party in Washington D.C.
Libertarian Party candidates ran in five of Louisiana’s congressional district races this year, and each of their platforms included marijuana’s legalization, says Benedict.
Benedict points to Colorado and Washington state, where voters just legalized the recreational use of marijuana, as an indicator of what’s to come.
“It’s looking like things are changing around the country, which we Libertarians see as a good sign,” Benedict tells IND Monthly. “Louisiana is a socially conservative state, so I don’t expect to be on the leading edge of this issue, but changes are happening all over the country and those changes will spread. We will keep pushing the issue here, because it all starts with educating the public and our elected officials.”
That education, he says, centers on the costs associated with marijuana’s criminalization.
“The biggest benefit of legalizing will be in terms of saving money in the justice system,” Benedict adds. “There’s so much money spent just on police chasing marijuana, not to mention the cost of putting these people in jail. The crime we have with drugs is because they exist in the black market.”
Leading the push is a group called Legalize Louisiana. The group emerged in 2011, and seemed to have some momentum after staging a series of rallies around the state.
|Facebook photo of Legalize Louisiana's rally in Lafayette in 2011|
This year’s rally, at least in Lafayette, was a far cry from the hundreds of marchers who descended upon the Parish Courthouse in 2011.
Yet, the group on Nov. 7 posted an online petition to “Restore Cannabis Rights in Louisiana.” The petition, which is posted on the group’s Facebook page, calls for a reformation of:
Louisiana’s Cannabis laws and policies, to honor the inalienable rights to all benefits of the Natural Cannabis plant, to result in safe and free access to the plant for all Louisiana citizens for every medical, industrial, religious, or recreational application.
Benedict says Legalize Louisiana’s online petition is a good start, but will need support to prove effective.
“Public opinion is growing nationwide, but our activities are in the early stages here in Louisiana,” he says. “Legalize Louisiana’s petition is a good way to start convincing our elected officials to at least put something on the ballot for voters to decide. Because unlike some other states, in Louisiana we have to get Legislative approval to add something to the ballot.”
Click here to view Legalize Louisiana’s petition, and here to read more about the Louisiana branch of the Libertarian Party.
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
Lafayette Regional seeking new leadership after longtime director Greg Roberts’ June resignation.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,068 from the previous week's total of 2,071. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,494 claims.
The struggle for control of the regional flood authority board and its lawsuit against oil and gas companies for wetlands damage has taken an unexpected turn.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier agreed several weeks ago to change the compensation formula for any future payments, but he ruled Wednesday that a deal is a deal when it comes to money BP has already paid out.
IberiaBank has already retrofitted many of the Teche Federal Bank locations it acquired in a buyout earlier this year, but some residuals from the estimated $161 million deal are still playing out, namely a federal lawsuit alleging the theft of sensitive information by two former Teche executives.
Both join Russo as brand developers.
Targets of an investigation of alleged corruption within the settlement program for compensating victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be in federal court Tuesday.
Excitement over Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X is growing, as is the international demand for the state-of-the-art chopper, which will soon be manufactured at the company’s first-ever Louisiana assembly facility in Lafayette.
The Louisiana Hospital Association, Louisiana Nursing Home Association, Louisiana Pharmacists Association, ambulance providers and intermediate care facilities are pooling their resources and planning for a statewide media buy to promote the passage of the first two constitutional amendments on the November ballot.
New report also reveals negative results of Medicaid cuts.
The Pentagon says two Louisiana companies have Navy contracts worth a total of $26.8 million.
Newcomer to Top 50 among five companies selected for Naval contract
Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes — were released by the U.S. Labor Department.
Texas declined by five rigs, West Virginia dropped three and Louisiana was down two.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has upheld a federal safety board's right to investigate the role of Transocean Deepwater Drilling Corp. in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
A supporter of a lawsuit against the oil industry has been re-nominated to a seat on a south Louisiana flood control board despite opposition from Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The nominating committee for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East was set Thursday to nominate applicants for two people on the board whose terms have expired.
Restaurant could see ‘a little facelift,’ Bobby Butcher tells Daily Report.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says he won't approve a Cameron Parish Police Jury resolution to hire outside attorneys for such a lawsuit until the resolution is amended. Caldwell's Sept. 15 letter says the resolution must make clear that those attorneys will represent the parish alone — not the state.
Michelle D. Lavergne, who worked for the Lafayette law office of L. Clayton Burgess for 13 years, faces up to 10 years in prison.
Sonnier, former media buyer and account exec at Sides, joins Acadian companies as marketing specialist; Maggard, who most recently worked for Potenza, joins Russo as director of media and PR.