Attorney General candidate and Crowley Representative John Stefanski’s bill to increase the penalties for fentanyl possession received final passage and awaits the governor’s signature. But LSU Law Center criminal law professor Dr. Ken Levy said it’s simply a repeat of the “War on Drugs” from the 80s.
“The whole drug industry and we’ll prevent addiction, we’ll prevent overdoses. Well, it didn’t work at all and all it did was leads to mass incarcerations,” said Levy.
For the first offense of possession of 250 grams or more, the penalty is life in prison and at least 35 years without parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
Levy said it’s merely Stefanski being lazy and using the legislation to say he’s tough on crime. Instead of passing laws to increase penalties, Levy said the root cause of drug use needs to be the focus instead.
“You figure out why people are using these drugs, why they’re turning to drugs, and you’ll find a lot of poverty, hopelessness, despair, mental health issues. Things that Stefanski I think has not passed any bills to address,” said Levy.
The original bill would have sent individuals convicted of 28 grams or more to life in prison but was raised to 250 grams. Levy said it’s merely smoke and mirrors and won’t resolve the issue.
“This is all for show, it means nothing and in fact, it’s counterproductive because it looks like they’re doing something when they’re doing nothing and meanwhile a lot of people are suffering,” said Levy.
Stefanski is one of three Republicans in the Attorney General race.