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WTUL News & Views Interviews Kevin Caldwell of Common Sense NOLA
Interview with Kevin Caldwell leader of Common Sense NOLA, a New Orleans-based advocacy group working toward the establishment of a cannabis marketplace through economic development, education, and legal reform to ensure our community's prosperity and security.
Kevin Caldwell moved to New Orleans in 1992 from Virginia and fell in love with the City of New Orleans. The last 15 years he has called the Broadmoor neighborhood home. He has been an active member of this neighborhood serving as Vice President of the Broadmoor Improvement association from 2007-2009 during the critical rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He is currently a Commissioner of the Broadmoor Improvement District. He was an appointed civil servant in the Nagin and Landrieu administrations working as a liaison with the IT and Finance Departments from 2007-2012. He also taught counter terrorism courses to law enforcement officers throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. Kevin also has 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. He formed CommonsenseNOLA in late 2013 to help address the cities crisis with violence, lack of economic opportunity and social justice. He graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2003 with a B.S. in Political Science
Interview discusses the CommonsenseNOLA's organizing of a New Orleans ballot initiative for marijuana reform and this past weekend's #BeNobleFreeNoble rally for Bernard Noble a 49-year-old father of seven, is serving a thirteen and one-third year prison sentence of hard labor with no opportunity for parole in Ferriday, Louisiana. His crime? Possession of 2.8 grams of marijuana – the equivalent of two marijuana cigarettes. In 2011, Bernard Noble was riding a bike in New Orleans when police officers stopped him and discovered 2.8 grams of marijuana. Due to two prior low-level, nonviolent drug offenses, Mr. Noble was charged under the state’s habitual offender law. As a result, he faced a sentence of thirteen and one-third years under Louisiana's mandatory sentencing laws. However, the trial judge in the case used his power under a state ruling that allows forreduction of a sentence if it is shown to be “constitutionally excessive” (as applied to the case and the defendant) to reduce Mr. Noble’s sentence to 5 years. Mr. Noble’s reduction in sentence was appealed 3 times by the Orleans Parish District Attorney when, finally, it was overturned by the State Supreme court. He is currently serving his full thirteen and one-third year term in Ferriday, Louisiana.