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Misdemeanor ordinance causes drop in marijuana arrests

A recent ordinance has resulted in a drop in the number of arrests made for possession of marijuana in the state. Those who are caught with a misdemeanor amount of the drug in New Orleans, Louisiana, can now be given citations and fines instead of facing time in jail. Since the ordinance was passed last summer, the NOPD has issued an average of four citations daily.

Over 3,000 people were arrested and placed in jail in 2009 for simple possession of marijuana in the city, an average of nine people per day. In 2010, a policy was enacted that allowed police officers to choose to issue a citation for simple possession instead of placing the person under arrest. Since then, the punishment for this crime has been lessened, and the newest ordinance results in even less daily arrests. On average, four people a day are issued citations, and one person per day is arrested.

It is up to the discretion of the police officer whether to arrest someone who is caught with a misdemeanor amount of marijuana or to issue them a citation. With fewer arrests being made for the crime, officers have more time to deal with violent criminals, and the jails have more room to house them. While 60 percent of those in the state's jails were arrested on felony charges, those with misdemeanors are usually released rather quickly, according to the report.

Anyone who finds themselves under arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession in the state of Louisiana has the right to consult with a criminal law attorney. The criminal lawyer can discuss with the client the possibility of having the charges dropped, or making an attempt to be released with a citation and fine. The criminal law attorney will help the client build the best defense possible for his or her alleged crime.

Source:, "Pot fines issued regularly by NOPD, overall arrests drop dramatically", Ryan Naquin, May 22, 2017

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