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Jefferson County will no longer prosecute some marijuana possession cases

Reported from WHAS 8/28/2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County will no longer prosecute some marijuana possession cases, County Attorney Mike O'Connell announced August 28.

O'Connell said his office will no longer be prosecuting people charged with marijuana possession when they are found with one-ounce or less. This policy change will only apply when the possession charge is the most serious charge against the person.

"We will now devote even more time and attention to the serious, and potentially deadly, crimes involving guns, domestic violence and DUI," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said he came to the decision after researching approaches to solving disparities in marijuana citations. He said data from 2010 to 2017 showed inconsistencies in possession charges in Louisville for white and black people.

"I cannot sit idly by when communities of color are treated differently," O'Connell said.

While his office will still receive citations from police, O'Connell said it will no longer prosecute possession or illegal possession of drug paraphernalia when it is clearly only used for marijuana.

The policy changes do not apply to people under 21, and does not include cases that involve driving under the influence; public display, use or consumption; trafficking; or public intoxication as a result of marijuana.

Metro Council passed an ordinance to make marijuana a lower law enforcement priority in June.


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