New Orleans City Council members will definitely regret the damage they have done to New Orleans by passing a pro-marijuana ordinance.

Marijuana is illegal in the United States because it is a harmful, mind-altering drug. Instead of supporting policies to protect the people of New Orleans from marijuana, this council passed an ordinance with meaningless penalties that largely decriminalizes marijuana and does nothing to deter the use of the harmful drug and most likely will do much damage to the community. Two councilmen insinuated that this ordinance was on the path to full marijuana legalization.

Other cities with permissive marijuana laws are seeing increased marijuana-related crime, vehicular accidents, poison control center calls, hospital emergency room admissions, arrests for marijuana use in schools and teen admissions to treatment centers.

Reducing the number of arrests is a worthy goal. No one should go to jail for simple possession of the drug. Actually, there are no reports that show that people are held in jail for simple possession alone.

Of utmost importance should be the safety and health of the citizens of New Orleans, especially the young and most vulnerable in our community.

Who in the city’s leadership is speaking out about the dangers of marijuana use? Where is the support for parents who do not want their children to take this drug?

We know that Mayor Mitch Landrieu cares about the safety and health of the people of New Orleans, so he should speak out and inform the citizens about the harms of marijuana use and its connection to schizophrenia and other addictive disorders, about the studies that show that marijuana primes the brain to seek heroin, about its connection to crime and other dangers. We need his leadership to stridently oppose the ordinance that will unleash a wave of negative outcomes on the people of New Orleans.

Stephanie Haynes

Smart Approaches to Marijuana

New Orleans