The city of Baton Rouge has voted this week to ease marijuana penalties.

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council voted on Wednesday to overhaul its marijuana penalties so that they are more similar to neighboring city New Orleans.

Now if someone is caught with marijuana, police and city prosecutors will have the option to treat them with summonses and fines instead of giving them jail time.

For anyone who is found with less than 14 grams of marijuana, a summons would be given and then City Court judges would decide to whether or not to impose fines for convictions.

The fine for a first time offender would be $40, $60 for a second-time offender, $80 for a third time-offender and $100 for each time after.

Under state law, police officers are still allowed to arrest the person if they have less than 14 grams of marijuana and take them to jail.

The law could go into effect in 30 days if Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome decides to sign.

Broome remarked, “My position aligns with BRPD and Chief Murphy Paul. This ordinance will allow us to rededicate resources to felony offenders. It also attaches penalties to possession without the stigma of prison. Our current practice is to issue summonses for simple possession of marijuana, and this new ordinance will not change that.”

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