click to enlarge At the Texas Capitol this week, advocates pushing for marijuana reform rallied around House Bill 81, which would effectively decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. They point to the sea change in how states across the country approach cannabis (26 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the plant in some form), as well as surveys that continue to show an overwhelming majority of Texans support changing pot laws.
But even without a measure like HB 81, Texas cities could decriminalize pot on their own if they wanted to — sort of. That’s because of a state law the Texas Legislature passed in 2007 that gave local cops the discretion to simply cite, rather than arrest, certain low-level misdemeanor defendants, like those nabbed for small-time pot possession. While Austin started down that road in 2012, and Dallas started to fiddle with the idea in 2013, Harris County upped the ante this year by pretty much decriminalizing all misdemeanor marijuana cases.
But here in Bexar County, District Attorney Nico LaHood says he and other San Antonio-area law enforcement officials are still thinking it over. “Our office has been in discussion on this for some time now,” LaHood told the Current on Tuesday.
No kidding. In his first run for DA in 2010, which he narrowly lost, LaHood offered general support for a system of citing, rather than jailing, low-level pot smokers. Then, after he won in 2014, he told us he was still exploring the