By Shay O’Connor | WDSU | January 11, 2022
The NOPD announced that beginning this week the department will no longer issue citations for small possessions of weed alone in the parish.
Monday the people of New Orleans spoke out.
Ashana, a New Orleans resident said “It is about time. Marijuana has been legal and legally distributed throughout the country for a long time now. Hopefully, the next steps are letting people out of jail that have been in there for possessional charges.”
“I personally feel it is a really great idea. I am all about the decriminalization of cannabis,” Jessica Paice said.
Marcus Sangodoyin- Akinlana said, “If you know the history of this country, you know the way they have used this so called ‘war on drugs’ as an attack against African people in this country. As far as I am concerned, this is long overdue.”
Based on records, blacks are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession in Louisiana.
The law was supposed to go into effect back in September of last year. Sometime after New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance to take away all penalties for simple weed possession in the city by issuing pardons, instead of fines or court appearances. Kevin Caldwell with the Marijuana Policy Project said it is time to right the wrong.
“People lose the opportunity to get jobs, to get housing. To get educational assistance. These are key things that can haunt people for the rest of their lives for something that is legal in 18 states,” said Caldwell.
“There is a consequence for every action,” said Rafael Goyeneche with Metropolitan Crime Commission.
Some feel it may currently do more harm than good given the spike in crime here locally.
“In many instances, the people who now want to use marijuana, they won’t get the medical marijuana. They will go to the French Quarter to make purchases. A lot of those will be children and teens. Creating more problems for law enforcement,” Goyeneche said.
Weed is still considered illegal in the state. Still many are hoping that with this change, other changes will follow.
“I think it is important for us to stop painting the leaves green and actually treat the roots. Hopefully, we will be spreading those resources to things that are so needed in our cities,” Ashana said.
Below, a statement from NOPD:
“NOPD has revised our policy covering procedures related to simple possession of marijuana, and new general order in effect as of Sunday to comply with a new municipal ordinance. Under the revised policy, officers will no longer issue citations for simple possession alone. However, marijuana remains an illegal substance under Louisiana revised statute law and our officers are obligated to seize marijuana as contraband. Once that marijuana is seized, officers must still take time to record and log it as property.”