New Orleans' District Attorney says people caught with small amounts of marijuana should not be arrested.
"It would allow for sort of a releases, relieving the crowded conditions in the parish jail, because many of these people could be given essentially a traffic ticket and a summons to show up in court to handle their particular marijuana charge," Leon Cannizzaro said.
Leon Cannizzaro today also called on the City Council to make it so that such pot possession cases don't have to be prosecuted in the state court system.
"Consider a city ordinance which would allow for the prosecution of the simple possession of marijuana cases in the municipal court," Cannizzaro requested of the city council.
Cannizzaro says some 700 simple marijuana possession cases are currently pending in criminal court in New Orleans. He says making it a municipal offense would open make the courts more efficient.
The D.A. wanted to make it clear that he doesn't want this to be misinterpreted. "I am not here advocating the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in any way whatsoever," he told the council.
Cannizzaro pointed out that the maximum penalty for simple marijuana possession would remain six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
The judges currenlty handling the marijuana don't like the idea. In a statement this afternoon, they said as a group: "For public safety and constitutional reasons, the Criminal District Court Judges oppose first offense marijuana prosecutions being transferred from State Court to Municipal Court."
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