Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 4 a.m.
Dallas rejected cite-and-release in 2016, which would allow police to issue citations for marijuana possession instead of taking offenders to jail.
This month could be a critical one for marijuana reform as state and local politicians spar over changes in criminalization laws.
Next week the Dallas City Council will again consider ending the Dallas Police Department’s policy to arrest people for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Five members of the City Council, who pushed the policy last year but failed to gain approval, have pushed cite-and-release back on the council calendar. The policy allows police to issue tickets for marijuana possession rather than making arrests. The current penalties for weed possession would remain unchanged: a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail for possession of two ounces or less.
When the council brought up cite-and-release last year, then Dallas Police Chief David Brown opposed the policy out of fear that it would diminish police authority. This time around, the department, under Interim Police Chief David Pughes, intends to follow whatever recommendation the council gives next Wednesday.
This local debate takes place as the state also debates the issue. The Texas House of Representatives took a significant step Monday when a bill decriminalizing marijuana possession throughout the state passed out of the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
Sponsored by Texas Representative Joe Moody, the bill would get rid of criminal penalties for people caught with less