In Houston, Possession Of 4oz Or Less Gets A Class
Some states have moved to legalize marijuana for health reasons. Other states have decided to legalize to increase the tax base. For Texas, legalization may eventually arrive to cut down on the marijuana related work load and have officers return to protecting the people. Plain and simple, minor marijuana infractions are clogging up the Texas legal system
Harris County Texas (the county where Houston is located) recently passed a law that may be pointing to eventual legalization. In the law, recently announced by District Attorney Kim Ogg, people found in possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana will be able to avoid arrest, and jail time if they take a class.
The class is called “Cognitive Decision”. It’s a four hour drug class and will cost the offender $150. But once that offender takes the drug class there will be no further penalty and according to Houston’s KHOU, the misdemeanor won’t even go on their record.
If the offender doesn’t take the class they would face the original penalties for Harris County. Financial Aid in the form of payment plans, may be available to the offender as well.
This progressive move for a Texas county should save the country $25 million dollars in costs for court, jail, prosecutors, defense attorneys, lab testing and officer’s time. It will also mean officers will be able to focus on more serious crimes.
Now, when less than four ounces is found on a person, police will confiscate the drugs and have that person sign a contract agreeing to take the class within 90 days. The officer will drop the paperwork off at the end of the shift.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has blasted the DA over the new policy and likened it to Houston becoming a sanctuary city on low level crimes.
“The lieutenant governor has said repeatedly regarding sanctuary cities that he does not believe that law enforcement has the discretion to choose what laws to enforce and what laws to ignore,” said Patrick press secretary Alejandro Garcia. “That is his position regarding DA Ogg’s proposal.”
The new policy went into affect on Wednesday.