A measure from District A City Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who also chairs the Council's Criminal Justice Committee, introduces fines for possessing fewer than 14 grams of pot: $40 for a first offense, $60 for a second, $80 for a third and $100 for a fourth and subsequent offenses. The measure received unanimous support from council members March 17 and is expected to get Mayor Mitch Landrieu's approval; it goes into effect 90 days later.
Nearly 30 New Orleans musicians — including Kermit Ruffins and Phil Frazier of Rebirth Brass Band — endorsed the measure, which also has the support of marijuana advocacy and criminal justice reform organizations.
New Orleans police officers still have the discretion to make arrests under state law, which carries a penalty of 14 days in jail and a $300 fine for a first offense. The measure doesn't apply to juvenile arrests, which aren't covered under the municipal court's jurisdiction. — ALEX WOODWARD