The actions of state legislatures define the mentality of a state, and a few of the issues the Louisiana Legislature has dealt with in this session beg the question – is Louisiana moral or moronic?
A bill that would have lessened the penalties for pot possession was rejected, which gives Louisiana the distinction of being among the remaining states with the stiffest penalties for even simple possession of marijuana.
Another bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against gay employees was pulled from consideration because of the projected lack of votes for passage.
And Louisiana made national news this week when the legislature refused to pass a bill that would have removed the unconstitutional law that bans sodomy from the books.
Even though the bill that would have made the Bible the official state book was rejected, the fact that the idea came from an elected official in the state was an embarrassment.
Louisiana is a state with a diverse culture and uniquely historic traditions and citizens are rightfully proud of their state – but Louisiana is part of the United States of America and cannot live in political isolation.
The argument will be made that Louisiana has strong moral values and refuses to follow changing national trends on issues, like legalizing pot and gay equality. But defying established legal precedent is ignorant, and potentially costly to a state dealing with chronic financial shortcomings.
Governments and individuals should not sacrifice morality for convenience, but the justification behind using legislation to promote morality is shrouded in hypocrisy. People have a tendency to harshly judge the sins that are not their sins. Condemnation of pot use is supported by people who abuse alcohol or prescription meds, and those who condemn homosexuality as a clearly defined sin in the Bible are more accepting of the sins they and their families and friends commit.
Ignorance surrounding the ban on sodomy in the state abounds. Sodomy is not exclusive to gay sex and yet, it is used to condemn gay sex and gay marriage. Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that any ban on sodomy is unconstitutional. That makes Louisiana’s law completely meaningless – but it remains on the books.
If our system of government in America has taught us anything – it has taught us that we can’t “legislate morality,” and yet, state representatives seem prone to ignore the law and arguably, the Constitution in their attempts to uphold specific religious and moral beliefs.
Like every state, Louisiana is made up of regions with strongly differing opinions and contrasting ideas and that always leads to hotly contested legislative battles. The attitude about many issues in New Orleans is completely different from the attitude in the Bible Belt region of the state – but all areas of the state are ruled by the same legislature.
Issues that deal with equality or the sensible reassessment of marijuana in American society supersede a state’s morals and should be addressed with respect for the law and the Constitution. I am certain those who oppose same-sex marriage would love to find a place in the Constitution that would make it unconstitutional, but it is the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s rulings that actually support same-sex marriage.
I can honestly say, “I love Louisiana!” It’s a beautiful state and I have had the opportunity to live in beautiful states across the country. I’ve lived on beautiful water in Miami and San Diego, I’ve lived in areas overlooking mountains and seen snow-capped peaks year around, I’ve lived in historic buildings and viewed the four seasons from my window - but in coming back to New Orleans I have come to see the majestic beauty of this state.
The moss that drips from towering oak tress, the stoic cypress trees embedded in the swamps that are home to a diversity of wildlife, the architecture and history of small Louisiana towns that seem protected from the modern world, and the ultimate uniqueness of the mystic French Quarter are all things to appreciate and treasure about our state.
The post-Katrina buildup of New Orleans continues and with it a migration of new people to the area who are contributing to a new direction for New Orleans and Louisiana. But we will not advance this state forward as long as we have mentally crippled voters and legislators that continue to defy logic and a changing social and political landscape.
The actions of this legislative session make it easy to define Louisiana as moronic – not moral.
The argument made that marijuana can't be dropped to a misdemeanor simply because it's a schedule 1 is ridiculous. Especially when you consider that big pharma has been using extracts of it as medicine since the 80's. This is a prime example of politics at it's best. Big pharma wants it for there own use only! They'd hate to see all of the money they've investested go to waste when a God given plant can't be patented as a whole. It's ridiculous to me how a plant that grows from the ground thats been proven time an time again to be medicinal in it's natural state ( for thousands of years mind you) has been demonized simply because of money.
I live in Louisiana and have been outraged daily by hearing about all the bills that pass or fail to pass that further the ignorance, bigotry, and archaic behavior that this state is so well known for. I am truly ashamed to be a part of this state.
One more thing.
Sorry Scoot, I don't mean to comment again but I wanted to add one more thing.
It is pure hypocrisy when the FDA will approve speed for kids ( ADD meds) and anti anxiety meds that make people forget just about everything, but don't approve a plant that doesn't need any modification to work.
Believe me when I say kids shouldn't use marijuana as it has been known to alter brain activity in undeveloped minds. However, there should be no reason why it should be denied to responsible adults who could benefit from the medicinal properties.
On two points I agree Sodomy law is good and it is okay to discriminate against gay people for employment but I do not agree with jailing Marianna users. This is just politicians and sheriff making money off huge jail system
We all ready have a law and dropped the ball, doctors can already write, in Louisiana, a rx for pot. Now let's get the dispensaries open!!!!!
The fact of the matter is that marijuana has been made legal in two states now. In both states the news reports state those who are using the marijuana have not respected the rules of the new laws and openly defy the restrictions. They openly sell and consume marijuana in public parks and streets. Reports from Denver local news are stating they have no problem exposing juveniles and others who do not wish to consume marijuana by smoking it these public areas such as the 4/20 event last weekend. This will be the same type of response by users in this area if it becomes legal.
The fact of the matter is that as long as we have a culture which feels that intoxication is an expectable form of recreation drug problem will be a threat to society.
The above comment makes sense, however, people will use and abuse anything wether legal or not.
So why don't we legalize it, but only for personal use. Have people pay a for a growing permit. The permit would cost 500 dollars a year to grow up to two plants, on personal property, only for personal use. The state makes money and the citizens are happy. If someone is caught with selling, or using outside of their home, arrest them. This keeps government out of personal affairs while at the same time eliminating a public influence. How do you regulate this you ask?
Simple...planes already fly over and can see if someone's growing. So you have authorities go and make sure they are up to date on payment of yearly permit. If not, well then they get arrested. This is too much commen sense for governments to handle however and will NEVER happen!