This unprecedented breakthrough on the road to the legalization of marijuana comes just weeks after the new District Attorney of Harris County, Kim Ogg, announced her plans to not jail marijuana misdemeanors. (Read the story here.)
According to local news outlets, the blueprint is being laid out that will cite and release anyone who is caught with less than 4 ounces of marijuana in their possession.
It would specifically target people who are caught with four ounces of marijuana or less.
Instead of taking them to jail for possession those people will receive a citation from Houston officers and told to appear in court at a later date.
Chief Acevedo says it would free up his officers and reduce jail overcrowding in the city and county.
The newly appointed police chief told also told news reporters, “I just received a draft policy from the DA’s office who has been working with different stakeholders this week. I will be presenting it to the Mayor tomorrow.”
This makes a lot of sense when you take a step back and look at how big of an area HPD is required to police and control. There are much more severe crimes taking place such as sex trafficking, murder, rape and kidnapping that police officers could be focusing their time on. It’s fairly clear that having to process and deal with marijuana offenders in local jails takes up time and manpower that could be better spent elsewhere.
With the police chief rolling out a plan to cite and release and the DA saying that she will not be giving jail time to people who commit misdemeanors marijuana crimes this could lead to a many different outcomes. Perhaps, Harris County will eventually pass an ordinance legalizing the use; however, a more likely scenario is many other cities in Texas will follow suit leading to a real discussion in Austin over the medicinal purposes or flat out recreational use.
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