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New Orleans approves measures to decriminalize marijuana use

August 6, 2021 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — City leaders in New Orleans have approved measures to end penalties for people found with small amounts of cannabis.

The City Council on Thursday passed several agenda items to end the penalties and also to pardon about 10,000 convictions and pending cases, WGNO-TV reported.

City officials say the effort is aimed at helping to gain community trust with police. Another goal is to allow New Orleans police to focus on reducing violent crime in the city.

The council doesn’t have the authority to legalize recreational marijuana — but it does have the authority to decriminalize it, the station reported.

Smoking of cannabis will still be prohibited in public spaces, but that will be ticketed as a violation of the smoke-free air act instead of being handled as a drug offense.