New Orleans

City Council passes ordinance effectively removing all penalties for simple marijuana possession under city law, pardons roughly 10,000 past cases – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-08-05 17:29:34 –

Under an ordinance passed by the New Orleans City Council on Thursday, police officers can write you a ticket to have a small amount of marijuana — but that’s essentially pointless.

The ordinance, sponsored by City Council Chair Helena Moreno and unanimously passed by Congress on Thursday, automatically gives “future amnesty” to those cited as simply possessing marijuana under city law. Issuance and exemption from fines associated with violations. It will take effect on September 15th.

“This policy not only helps NOPD build trust in the community, but also saves personnel time and instead is key to shooting, murder, and overall prevention of violence in our city. The goal is to help you focus on the problem, “says Moreno. “It’s time to end the criminalization of cannabis possession.”

Currently, the penalties for possessing simple marijuana under city law are $ 40 for the first offense and $ 100 or less for subsequent offenses. However, those cited after September 15th will be automatically exempt from these fines. A NOPD spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the new law or whether the department would continue to issue nonsensical citations for simple marijuana possession after the law came into force.

Another ordinance passed on Thursday has retroactively pardoned persons convicted of simple possession of marijuana under city law since 2010. She called the move “historical.”

In the last decade, the council has passed measures to ease penalties for marijuana, and in the last few years Relatively few People were put in jail for possessing drugs. However, Moreno and other council members pointed out the ongoing racial disparity in the issuance of citations as one of the reasons for the complete removal of penalties.

According to data provided by city council public security analyst Jeff Usher at the last council meeting, 86% of those summoned to possess marijuana since 2010 were black.

“In the last few years, millionaires have been born from the same industry, generational wealth has been born, and mass imprisonment of colored races and financial disadvantages have been put,” said Councilor Donna Grapion. I mentioned in. “A policy review carried out during the war on drugs has severely revealed that the strategy was overly aggressive and misguided.”

Medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana, but the state has not yet legalized its use for recreational purposes.The Louisiana State Legislature shot down an attempt to fully legalize this year, even if Governor John Bel Edwards and others acknowledged the end result. Legalization is inevitable.. However, in the meantime, legislators agreed to significantly ease the penalties and passed a law earlier this year that ruled out the possibility of simple marijuana-carrying prisons or prison time. Previously, first-time criminals could face imprisonment for more than two weeks. Repeatedly the criminal faced in prison for years.

State law is even more punitive than the ordinance passed by Congress on Thursday. Also, New Orleans police officers are empowered to cite people under state law rather than the New Orleans Ordinance. But even if it did, Jason Williams, Orleans District Attorney for Parish, said: He refuses those accusations..

Future amnesty, retroactive amnesty

According to Moreno, state law criminalizing marijuana prevented it from being fully legalized in the city.

Her office states that if the city completely removes city law, police will be forced to prosecute crimes under state law. At a meeting on Thursday, Moreno said the idea of ​​a “future amnesty” to keep the city’s marijuana law on the books and pull out teeth was devised by the council’s legal team and is unique to New Orleans. I said there is.

“The whole concept of a particular accusation or preemptive amnesty for an accusation is something that no other city has done, and no other city has tried,” Moreno said. “In their wonderful legal spirit, they were able to come up with this option for us.”

To legalize “future amnesty,” Congress must pass another ordinance on Thursday that allows the city council or the mayor to amnesty people throughout the class, not just the individual applying for the amnesty. did not.

Sarah Whittington, an organization that provides services and agents to those involved in the criminal legal system, said future amnesty would prevent the future simple possession of marijuana citations from being shown. He said he understood. Uploaded to someone’s record. But she said it was not immediately clear how retroactive amnesty would affect the record of an estimated 10,000 people granted on Thursday.

At the meeting, Whittington took steps to ensure that amnesty individuals were issued erasures to ensure that records among various law enforcement and criminal justice agencies throughout the state were cleared. He said he wanted to take.

“We will also acknowledge and say the power of amnesty you are using today. We hope you continue the process towards the complete erasure of these records,” she said. .. “They should be sealed from the public eye, from the court system, from the law enforcement system, from the district court to the state police … free of charge to those affected.”

According to JAC, the erasure process in Louisiana is $ 550, the most expensive in the country. Very involved — Even those who have just been arrested and have never been convicted. Proponents warn that if people can’t erase their records, they may not be able to get work, housing, or services.Efforts to automate the process The legislature could not be passed..

Currently, possession of a small amount of marijuana in New Orleans is unlikely to penalize an individual, but can still be quoted as smoking. In addition to future retroactive amnesty ordinances, the council will open Thursday, outside private residences, or as childcare, day care, or medical facilities.

Moreno emphasized that the ordinance was “for public health purposes” and was not intended to criminalize the substance itself.

“If you receive a smoking ticket in an unexpected location, it’s not a drug claim,” she said. “It’s not a drug claim, and that’s an important part here.”

City Council passes ordinance effectively removing all penalties for simple marijuana possession under city law, pardons roughly 10,000 past cases Source link City Council passes ordinance effectively removing all penalties for simple marijuana possession under city law, pardons roughly 10,000 past cases

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