Mayor Mitch Landrieu has signed an ordinance allowing marijuana possession to be punished with a fine rather than jail time in New Orleans, but the new law won’t go into effect for a few months.
It allows police in New Orleans the option of issuing a municipal summons for marijuana possession, which carries a fine of $40 for a first offense. Penalties increase for repeat offenders but top out at $100.
By comparison, penalties under state law start at $300 and carry the possibility of jail time.
Landrieu signed the ordinance on March 23, but the administration did not respond to questions about whether it was signed until almost a week later.
The new rules won’t go into effect until June. In the meantime, the New Orleans Police Department is developing policies to determine when officers will use the new municipal law and when they should make arrests under the more punitive state law.