The first numbers for the city of Dallas’ cite-and-release program for marijuana enforcement are in, and they’re fairly consistent with the city’s marijuana arrest numbers when Dallas police officers were required to take those busted for pot possession to the county jail. Dallas officers have written 23 citations for marijuana possession. Each of those citations was given to a black or Latino person, and all but six of them were written south of Interstate 30.
“The stats confirm something that I’ve been saying for a long time,” Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston says. “Marijuana is already legal in the city of Dallas as long as you’re white.”
Under the program, getting busted with 4 ounces or less of marijuana still carries the same potential penalties as it did before cite-and-release. People caught with 2 ounces or less face up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. Those busted with more than 2 but less than 4 ounces face up to a year in jail and $4,000 fine.
The only thing that changes is the arrest process. Rather than being taken to jail immediately, those arrested for pot possession — and marijuana possession alone — are issued a citation with a court date. They don’t have to go to jail, pay bail, miss work the next day or potentially have their cars towed, which lessens the upheaval that typically comes with an arrest.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson has pledged to allow anyone given a citation