Orleans government official wants to rework marijuana laws
NEW ORLEANS - City councilwoman Susan Guidry will try to change how police deal with marijuana possession cases, WWL TV reported Monday.
Guidry will ask police be able to issue court summons for subsequent offenses instead of just first-offense. Currently, a summons can be issued for first-time possession offenses.
Guidry said there is a disproportionate amount of arrests for misdemeanor marijuana possession involving African-Americans. She added felony arrests are high, too.
"This is unacceptable and not in line with the demographics of our city or the reported demographics of marijuana users," Guidry said. "The citizens of our city want their tax dollars focused on preventing crime and fixing infrastructure. These marijuana arrests clog our already overburdened court systems and public defender's office. Also, when indigent defendants cannot afford the hefty state law fines for possession offenses, they end up clogging our jail for failure to pay. Then it is the taxpayers who are forced to foot the bill."
Guidry represents District A - the Uptown, City Park and Lakeview areas along the Jefferson/Orleans parish line.
The issue will be discussed at a meeting on January 27th.
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