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New Orleans Softens Marijuana Possession Laws Starting Today

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New Orleans, Louisiana – There are now much fewer consequences for repeat offenders with possession of marijuana in the city of New Orleans. Now, someone caught with possession of marijuana, who is a repeat offender, will only be issued a court summons. This is the same consequence for someone caught with the possession of marijuana for the first time.

These lax rules only apply if the repeat offender is found outside of one of the city’s drug-free zones such as schools, parks and many churches. Police officers will be allowed to arrest someone, if necessary, under the state law of Louisiana.

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People arrested for possession on a state charge must answer to the crime in a state court where the law is much stricter.

The ordinance taking effect today also establishes a fine structure for possession: $40 for a first offense, $60 for a second, $80 for a third, and $100 for a fourth and beyond. Police are required to dispose of any marijuana that is seized as soon as they can after issuing a summons for the possession.

However, New Orleans Police Department officers will not need to do an onsite test to confirm whether or not the substance is marijuana. These new rules do not apply to possession or multiple offenses involving synthetic marijuana and cannabinoids.

The NOPD hopes that by making fewer arrests for marijuana possession it will save the officers time during their shifts. Louisiana State Police troopers will still uniformly enforce the stricter state law.

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