Sentencing commission backs lesser pot penalties

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – A commission that advises the governor on criminal sentencing issues is backing legislation to reduce penalties for simple possession of marijuana.

In November, the Louisiana Sentencing Commission turned down the idea of reducing sentences for people convicted of possessing marijuana. But after occasionally rancorous debate Thursday, the commission voted favorably on a measure that would do just that.

The Advocate reports  the commission voted favorably on House Bill 14, filed by state Rep. Austin Badon Jr.

Badon's legislation would reduce third-offense penalties to a maximum of five years in prison and a $2,000 fine. Those convicted a second time for possessing marijuana would face a maximum two-year term and a fine of no more than $500, which is down from the law's five-year sentence and $2,000 fine

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