Early this September, a Louisiana man was sentenced to 20 years in prison — for possessing 15 grams of marijuana.
Corey Ladd, 27, had prior convictions and was sentenced as a “multiple offender,” but the nevertheless, his case is amongst many that are keeping the immorality of modern drug laws at the forefront of the public debate.
In New Orleans, marijuana use is still punishable by jail in most of the county, with the prohibition of the drug enforced in an extremely discriminatory manner along color lines. According to a recent report from the ACLU, arrests for marijuana show a staggering disproportionate amount of African Americans as the target.
Roughly half of all drug arrests are for marijuana, and even though blacks use the drug at relatively the same rate as whites, they are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for it.
In the state of Louisiana alone, 13,000 people are arrested for marijuana every year, with a staggering 60% of those arrests involving African Americans. With the state’s population being 32% black, the 60% arrest rate leaves no doubt as to the discrimination that’s taking place.
A person who’s been convicted for a second marijuana offense can receive a 5-year prison sentence in the state.
Even though public opinion has taken a hard turn against harsh marijuana laws, the practices continue. According to a study from Public Policy Polling, more than half the people in the state support legalization of pot.
In regards to Corey Ladd, defense lawyers are appealing his conviction. But even if he’s shown leniency, there’s still hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are being destroyed by unjust pot laws.