Texas Decriminalization Cultivated By County and State

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On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council will consider a progressive program aimed at decriminalizing the personal possession of no more than 4 ounces of marijuana.

Already decriminalized in Harris County, Texas – the most populous county in the state of Texas – the Dallas City Council’s proposal to decriminalize less than 4 ounces of pot was initially suggested in 2016. The Dallas Observer reports that Interim Police Chief Pughes plans to “follow whatever recommendation the Council gives.”

Dallas County Decriminalization

Pushing for a cite-and-release policy, the proposed Dallas City Council program would obligate the Dallas Police to issue tickets for marijuana possession rather than make arrests. Currently, those caught with less than 2 ounces of marijuana in the Lone Star State face the ugly reality of spending up to six months in the county jail and shelling out $2,000 in fines.

The primary objective of the decriminalization proposal is to reduce the amount of time and money wasted by the Dallas Police Officers on simple marijuana infractions. No longer squandering their time with nonviolent marijuana offenses, many believe programs like this will decrease the jail’s swelling population and officer response times for real crimes.

As reported by CBS DFW, the ordinance would allow individuals 17 or older with a valid ID, and who have no prior convictions, to be cited and released after providing a simple thumbprint.

Texas State Decriminalization

Potentially great news for the pot smoking residents of Dallas County, those in the “surrounding areas” will have to wait and see how House Bill 81 progresses through the 2017 legislative session.

Sponsored by State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), the passage of HB 81 would replace penalties and jail time for all residents of Texas caught with less than 1 ounce of pot – instead, treating any minor marijuana possession (under 1 ounce) like a simple traffic infraction.

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.

4 Comments

  1. Darlene Henize on

    I’m a 65 year old grandmother. And I feel it needs to be legalized already!! In all my years I have NEVER seen anyone die or get violent on marijuana! I could probably use it for my painful arthritis, instead of taking these addictive hydracodones!! I hope this new law is a step forward for legalization!!!

  2. A new policy goes into effect today for people caught with misdemeanor amounts of marijuana in Harris County.

    Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the new marijuana policy earlier this month. She says it will save the county millions of dollars and free up resources to focus on prosecuting violent crimes.

    The new Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program, which takes effect on March 1, 2017, will divert all misdemeanor marijuana cases — involving up to four ounces — out of the criminal justice system, instead redirecting low-level drug offenders into a decision-making class.
    Harris County marijuana prosecution by the numbers
    Harris County spends approximately $26 million each year prosecuting 10,000 misdemeanor marijuana cases
    Crime labs spend $1.7 million testing evidence for those 10,000 cases
    On average, it takes four hours of a law enforcement officer’s time to arrest, transport and book a misdemeanor offender
    Harris County spends $13 million housing marijuana offenders, who each spend an average of 6 days in jail
    Low-level marijuana cases account for 10 percent of cases on Harris County court dockets.

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