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Can Louisiana Change Its Mind?

Here is a story that says a lot about the cultural differences that exist within the United States of America. On one hand you have Seattle, Portland and Denver, three beautiful cities where people can purchase their own cannabis seeds (sometime they can even do it online on websites like this one grow their own cannabis plants, and enjoy their own cannabis blissfulness. Although it took a very long time to get to this point, now things seems to be going better and better: people are happier, the states are getting richer, and citizens don’t go to jail because they smoke a joint in their living room.

On the other hand, you find yourself in Louisiana. Sure, New Orleans is in Louisiana, and we are talking about a city that has been associated with queerness, sex and progressive (or even deviant) ways of thinking for decades. The state, however, is also the place where Bernard W. Noble, a citizen of New Orleans, gets sentenced to over 13 years of prison. And how did it happen? Well, he was arrested on his way to work because it was carrying two joints. Trust me, this is not an overstatement: a man is going to be in prison for 13 years because of two—and I said TWO—joints. “As of today, Mr. Noble has been in jail for four years. That’s four years that he’s missed Christmas, missed birthdays, and missed first days of school,” said Noble’s attorney.

Isn’t it time for Louisiana to rethink its approach? Something is moving, and it appears that soon enough the local politicians will begin to discuss a bill to reduce the sentences. “Now we are having conversations about marijuana that were not even possible five years ago,” said State Sen. J.P. Morrell to the media. However, you shouldn’t get too excited about it: if you live in Louisiana and you are a cannabis lover, you might want to consider moving to another state.

As underlined by Jessica Williams, “Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the United States, which in turn has the highest such rate in the world.” Is it really necessary to punish people because they carry a few grams of cannabis, which is a plant humans have been using for centuries all round the globe, considering the prisons of the state are already pretty full? We are waiting for Louisiana to wake up and find out this is 2015, and not the Middle Ages.