NEW ORLEANS - Council President Moreno’s cannabis decriminalization legislation passed through the Council’s Criminal Justice Committee unanimously today, June 29. The legislation automatically pardons all future municipal minor possession summonses, pardons more than 10,000 previously charged summonses or convictions, and prohibits public smoking of cannabis to maintain public health standards.
“Decriminalization is an essential step for equity, justice, and public safety, and I’m so proud that this Council advanced this proposal unanimously,” said Council President Moreno. “We need to focus our limited public safety resources on serious issues, not cannabis possession.”
The Council heard from presenters from the Vera Institute, CommonsenseNOLA, and others regarding the ways in which decriminalization ends the cycle that involves too many in the criminal legal system and exposes them to negative consequences in employment, housing, and more. Statistics clearly show that bias in enforcement results in more than 86% of the summonses being issued to Black people. Thousands of police manpower hours are involved in the more than 2,500 summonses issued in the average year.
The legislation now advances to the full Council.