Officials in Dallas, Texas recently made some changes to how the city enforces weed laws. But new stats suggest that the city’s new possession policy may not actually produce any meaningful change. In particular, this new weed possession policy in Texas reveals racial bias directly in step with historical trends, both in Dallas and in the state more generally.
New Possession Policy
The new possession policy in Dallas changes the process immediately when a person is busted with weed. In the past, offenders caught with cannabis would be arrested and taken to jail. They would have to post bail to be released and then wait until their case went to court. This process was time-consuming and often very disruptive to the lives of anyone arrested for weed.
To simplify the process, the city came up with a new “cite-and-release” program. Now, when cops bust someone for weed, they no longer take the offender to jail and make them post bail. Instead, cops write a citation and let the person go. The citation includes the offender’s court date.
Basically, the only thing that changes is that initial short period in jail. Now, instead of waiting in jail to get a court date, or posting bail and waiting for a court date, people caught with weed are given a court date right away.
Nothing else changes. The state’s heavyhanded anti-cannabis laws remain fully enforceable. That means that a person caught with 2 ounces or less can face up to a $2,000 fine and