The Shreveport City Council is considering a measure to decriminalize low-level cannabis possession, according to a Shreveport Times report. Under the proposal, individuals 18-and-older caught with up to 14 grams would receive a $50 fine of community service instead of jail time.
The measure was introduced last week by council members John Nickelson and Tabatha Taylor, it was drafted in cooperation with Mayor Adrian Perkins.
Medical cannabis was only made available in the state in August 2019.
“Our government has (seen) fit to allow the pharmaceutical industry to sell marijuana and make millions and millions of dollars and yet we’re still losing far too many of our youth on marijuana charges.” – Perkins to the Times
Under current state law, the current penalty for 14 grams or less can be up to a $300 fine and 15 days in jail for a first offense; a $500 fine and six months in jail for a second offense; a $2,500 fine and up to two years in jail “at hard labor” for the third offense; and a $5,000 fine and eight years in jail at hard labor for the fourth or subsequent offenses, according to the statute outlined by the Times.
A recent report using American Civil Liberties Union data found Black people in Louisiana were 3.4 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than their White counterparts.
Nickelson indicated to the Times that convictions under the city law “would not count as predicate convictions for enhanced penalties under the state statute.”
If approved, Shreveport would be the third city in the state to adopt cannabis reform legislation. The City Council will vote on the measure on March 23.
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