The New Orleans City Council recently passed new standards designed to reduce arrests for marijuana possession. Lawmakers are seeking to minimize disruptions in people’s lives stemming from possession of low-level drugs. Offenders should soon have less need of a marijuana defense lawyer or a drug defense attorney for simple possession.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed a new ordinance on March 23, 2016, which decriminalized cannabis possession in the city. Following this signature, the city council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance into law. The new law goes into effect on June 21, 2016.
Overview of the New Law
Local law enforcement will have the option of writing tickets to people for first-offense possession. Officers also have the choice of applying the stricter State of Louisiana law for possession, which involves arrest. The State of Louisiana penalty for first-offense cannabis possession may result in incarceration of up to six months. In this situation, offenders should consult with a marijuana defense lawyer or a drug defense attorney for assistance. Officers can issue a summons to people for third and subsequent possession charges that do not involve other factors. Local law enforcement is developing internal guidelines that will determine how officers enforce and apply the new laws.
First-offense fines begin at $40. The cap for the fourth-offense fine and beyond is $100. Offenders would have municipal court trials instead of proceedings held in the Orleans Criminal District Court.
Medical Marijuana Program
Patients who benefit from using medical cannabis may finally have the ability to do so legally in Louisiana. The Louisiana House passed a bill on May 11, 2016. The bill has now returned to the Senate. Patients who could benefit from using cannabis medically should consult a marijuana defense lawyer or a drug defense attorney to understand recent and upcoming changes in laws.
As statutes and laws continue to evolve, it is wise to remain cognizant of current penalties for cannabis possession.