Measures to Decriminalize Cannabis Approved in New Orleans

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Cannabis is decriminalized in New Orleans as of this Thursday, when City leaders approved measures to end penalties for people found with small amounts of the drug. Louisiana now joins 27 U.S. states that have decriminalized recreational marijuana.

The City Council  passed several agenda items to end the penalties and also to pardon about 10,000 convictions and pending cases, WGNO-TV reported.

City officials say the effort is aimed at helping to gain community trust with police. Another goal is to allow New Orleans police to focus on reducing violent crime in the city.

The council doesn’t have the authority to legalize recreational marijuana – but it does have the authority to decriminalize it, the station reported.

Smoking of cannabis will still be prohibited in public spaces, but that will be ticketed as a violation of the smoke-free air act instead of being handled as a drug offense.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Louisiana since 2015, but did not become available to the public until 2019. Since then, the state has made significant changes improving upon the program, such as legalizing the smoking of medical cannabis flower. The state’s legislature is currently considering legalizing recreational marijuana fully.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.