Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro called a city ordinance that lowered penalties for pot possession “stupid” during a talk at a meeting of the Rotary Club of New Orleans on Wednesday.

Speaking in response to a Rotarian’s question, Cannizzaro suggested that both marijuana users and dealers will flock to the city in response to the ordinance, which made first-offense marijuana possession punishable by a $40 fine.

“Stupid legislation, that’s all I can say about that. If you wanted to change the law, go to Baton Rouge and make it uniform throughout the state of Louisiana. Don’t have a special provision which decriminalizes or lessens the penalty for marijuana, a crime, in the city of New Orleans,” Cannizzaro said.

The ordinance, which was sponsored by City Councilwoman Susan Guidry and was passed unanimously, went into effect in June. Guidry said she sponsored the legislation to reduce the jail population and because most New Orleanians think marijuana possession should not be punished harshly.

After Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the ordinance into law, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said his officers would take full advantage of it.

Elsewhere in the state, the penalty for first-time possession of small amounts of marijuana is a fine of up to $300 and 15 days in jail.

The New Orleans Police Department plans to take full advantage of a city ordinance going int…

“We attract kids with the French Quarter, and that’s essentially what they’re going to do. They’re going to go there, smoke the weed and sell the weed,” Cannizzaro said.

If lawmakers want to legalize marijuana, he added, “that’s their call. I’m going to follow whatever the law is, but let’s be consistent and uniform.”

People arrested for marijuana offenses in New Orleans are overwhelmingly black, and the raci…

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msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432