Law enforcement officials in Dallas, Texas are adopting a new program with a name that might resonate with anglers in the Lone Star state, even though it has nothing to do with fishing. Instead, Dallas’ new plan aims to help first-time marijuana offenders off the hook. Elsewhere, in El Paso, city representatives are looking to reduce penalties for first-time misdemeanor marijuana offenses. Are these programs signs that Texas cities are making headway on marijuana reform?
“Cite And Release” Gets Petty Pot Offenders Off The Hook in Dallas
On Friday, December 1, Dallas will implement a program called “cite and release.” The program aims to eliminate the immediate consequences for anyone caught in possession of a misdemeanor quantity of cannabis.
In Texas, cannabis possession of up to four ounces is considered a misdemeanor offense. Possession under two ounces carries a penalty of 180 days incarceration and a $2,000 fine. Quantities between two and four ounces carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Currently, police officers in Dallas arrest anyone caught with weed on the spot, and suspects are taken into custody.
However, as the name suggests, the “cite and release” program forgoes the arrest. Instead, police officers issue a citation and release the suspect.
But it’s crucial to understand that the citation isn’t a simple “weed ticket.”
In other words, you don’t just pay a fine and move on, which is how it works in states which have decriminalized misdemeanor cannabis possession.