Shreveport, Louisiana Considers Low-Level Cannabis Decriminalization

According to a report in the Shreveport Times, the Shreveport City Council is considering a measure to decriminalize small-scale cannabis possession. Under this proposal, 18-year-olds caught using less than 14 grams would face a $50 fine instead of a prison sentence.

The measure was proposed last week by council members John Nickelson and Tabatha Taylor and drafted in conjunction with Mayor Adrian Perkins.

Medical cannabis was not available in the state until August 2019.

Our government (it seems) can allow the pharmaceutical industry to sell marijuana and make millions and millions of dollars, yet we still lose too many of our young people to marijuana possession charges. – Perkins is in the Times.

Under current state law, the penalty for 14 grams or less is $300 fine and 15 days in jail for a first offense; $500 fine and six months in jail for a second offense; $2,500 fine and up to two years in jail with hard labor for a third offense; and $5,000 fine and eight years in jail with hard labor for a fourth or subsequent offense, according to the law as described in the Times.

A recent report, based on data from the American Civil Liberties Union, found that blacks in Louisiana are 3.4 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than their fellow white citizens.

Nickelson noted to the Times that convictions under the Municipal Code cannot be used as the basis for a sentencing enhancement under state law.

If approved, Shreveport would be the third city in the state to pass a cannabis reform law. The City Council is meeting on the 23rd. March vote.

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