Louisville, Kentucky Lawmakers Propose Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession


Members of the Louisville, Kentucky city council introduced a proposed ordinance on Wednesday that would make possession of tiny amounts of marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority for the city’s police division. The proposal was filed by 4 Democratic members of the Louisville Metro Council, which includes Councilman Brandon Coan, who represents Louisville’s District eight.

“The concept is fairly simple: You do not want to punish somebody who tends to make a minor indiscretion … to protect against them from having a job or advancing in their profession or getting prejudiced in any other typical way of life,” stated Coan.

The ordinance would make “investigation, citations, and arrests” for possession of significantly less than a single-half ounce of marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority, even though it would not legalize cannabis possession or use. Marijuana possession situations associated to “an act or threat of violence, or exactly where public security officials reasonably think that the marijuana offense poses a substantial threat of critical physical harm to the public” would not be covered by the ordinance.

“We do not want to have to send people today downtown and by way of the court method for tiny infractions that are not critical troubles,” Coan stated. “We definitely want police to be on the street and out there to respond to violent crime and other critical crimes.”

Police, Mayor Push Back

Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police stated that officers have currently stopped creating arrests in most marijuana possession situations.

“Police are statutorily essential to create citations for tiny amounts of marijuana possession currently, unless there is some other circumstance associated to public security,” Halladay wrote. “Our division continues to concentrate on violent crime as a leading priority.”

Halladay added that Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has stated previously that “he will have to adhere to the laws as written in Kentucky and marijuana remains illegal in this commonwealth.”

Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, wrote in a statement that the objective of the proposed ordinance is currently in impact.

“First, marijuana is nonetheless illegal in Kentucky, and the mayor has a constitutional duty to uphold the law,” Porter wrote. “Second, LMPD currently prioritizes violent crime, and state law has, considering the fact that 2011, essential police to situation citations as an alternative of arresting men and women for possessing marijuana in low amounts.”

Earlier this year, an investigation revealed that Black people today, who make up significantly less than a single-fourth of Louisville’s population, have been the defendants in two-thirds of the situations exactly where possession of marijuana was the most critical charge.

Coan, who was joined in proposing the ordinance by Councilwomen Jessica Green, Barbara Sexton Smith, and Cindi Fowler, stated he believes the measure could be deemed by city council committees as quickly as May perhaps 29.

A measure equivalent to Louisville’s bid to unwind the enforcement of marijuana laws was proposed by a member of the city council in Jacksonville, Florida on Thursday.


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