State Rep. Austin Badon angrily yanked legislation on April 3, 2014 that would lessen the penalties for some simple (multiple) marijuana possession arrests.

According to political blog published by the Advocate, Badon’s anger was directed at the Louisiana Sheriffs Association, which vehemently opposed House Bill 14.

It is the opinion of the Sheriffs Association that, “It always starts with lessening the penalties. It ends up with issues toward legalization. For that reason alone, we’re opposed,” (comment made by the association’s executive director, Michael Renatza).

On the other hand, Badon said that this bill “...brings much needed reform to Louisiana’s drug law.” 

Renatza told legislators that sheriffs across the board resist any decriminalization.

Badon fired back with a story about a man in New Orleans who got drunk, drove the wrong way down the interstate and killed a woman who was on her way to work. He said the drunk driver got seven years in prison.

“We’re going to put a pot smoker away for 20 years? … That’s a shame and a disgrace,” he said.

The Advocate further reported that Louisiana District Attorneys Association Executive Director Pete Adams, who tried to stay out of the fray, came to the table and stressed that he was honor bound to remain unopposed to the bill. “This is not an unreasonable bill,” Adams said.

It is our opinion, as attorneys who spend at least half their practice on criminal matters,  that this Bill should be proposed again by Badon in the future. It has the potential to help a great deal of people. It is a shame that the Sheriff's Association is using this Bill as a way to open discussion on legalization, something that is clearly not the intention of this Bill.