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The Shreveport City Council discussed a bi-partisan proposal to lessen criminal penalties for marijuana possession in the city today. The measure is co-sponsored by Replican Councilman John Nickelson and Democrat Councilwoman Tabith Taylor. It calls for penalties on smaller marijuana possessions to be deescalated from jail time to fines.

Before bringing the changes before the rest of the City Council, John Nickelson posted on his social media an explanation of what they're looking to create:

“The legislation Councilwoman Taylor and I are sponsoring would create a municipal offense for possession of fourteen grams or less or marijuana; set a $50 fine as the only penalty for violation; and require Shreveport Police Department officers to issue a ticket rather than arresting a suspect for this relatively small amount of marijuana”

The comments left on Nickelson's post were mostly in support of the proposed changes. But it was unclear what the rest of the Shreveport City Council's response would be, until it was brought before them today.

This afternoon during the discussion of the measure, both Nickelson and Taylor spoke in obvious favor of their legislation, but Republican James Flurry voiced his support for the measure as well. Flurry's support shocked many, but as he explained "you can't be old school all the time".

Councilman Jerry Bowman spoke as well, suggesting that he may have concerns about how the change may fit with State and Federal law, but Councilwoman LeVetter Fuller indicated that this appears to be a move that does fit with the current set of laws in place.

If Councilman Flurry is in favor, and Councilman Bowman's questions about the parallels with State law can be answered, it would appear that the measure is a sure lock to pass, and potentially could be a unanimous vote.

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins added his support for the measure during the meeting as well. So if it does pass the Council, it will likely be put into place without challenge.

This was the first reading of the measure, so the Council will have a chance to vote on it in two weeks.

 

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