**PRESS RELEASE** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- March 24, 2021
Marijuana Decriminalization Bill passes in Shreveport
SHREVEPORT, LA On Tuesday, March 23rd, the Shreveport City Council voted 5-2 in favor of an ordinance which would decriminalize possession of less than 14 grams (half an ounce) of marijuana for residents 18 years of age or older. The proposal came about as a result of collaboration between the City of Shreveport with bipartisan support from Shreveport City council members Tabatha Taylor and John Nickelson. On Monday, March 22nd the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice hosted a townhall about the ordinance with the two councilmembers. Many of the questions from audience members were centered around what other entities were aware of the proposed ordinance and how it would affect existing laws. Councilman John Nickelson, who is also an attorney, discussed the racial disparities which exist in sentencing and conviction regarding marijuana possession and how it inspired his involvement in co-sponsoring the legislation. Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor stressed the importance of understanding the passing of this legislation is not a “free for all” and to be aware of other existing laws regarding driving under the influence and possession outside the city limits.
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice has been vocal about the necessity for expungement of past convictions as cities begin to pass similar ordinances. Both councilmembers expressed support for a statewide effort to do so during the townhall. Mayor Perkins said, “lowering penalties for minor marijuana offenses is something my administration has been working on for some time now.
The pharmaceutical industry has been allowed to make millions from the sale of marijuana, yet all too often we find that same system is failing our youth who are susceptible to marijuana charges. The passing of marijuana decriminalization legislation doesn’t eradicate those differences, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.” The ordinance will go into effect on Friday, April 23, 2021. To read about the legislation in its entirety please visit: https://www.shreveportla.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/25351?fileID=58972&fbclid=IwAR2By9MzfqgAZIWvvBRZAmzoUEs6msWPU-K7F27dsQEnAMQnndXU9HL6J7w
Candice Battiste, Power Coalition Organizer, email@example.com, 318-230-2345