On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council voted for progressive changes to their existing marijuana laws. No longer representing a surefire trip to the county jail, individuals caught with less than 4 ounces of marijuana could qualify for the new “cite-and-release” program.
Taking effect on October 1, 2017, the policy change allows officers on the Dallas Police Force the flexibility to handle low-level marijuana offenses with a simple ticket – rather than handcuffs and jail time.
The merciful marijuana policy vote, which Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tried to postpone, was ultimately passed by a 10 to 5 vote after a “heated” and protracted debate. According to WFAA ABC 8, council members Tiffani Young and Philip Kingston pushed the proposal over the final political hurdles.
“This is something good,” Kingston said. “Being responsible with public safety dollars means ignoring low-level marijuana possession.”
Flipping the script of your normal marijuana bust, the new policy replaces jail time with a trip to the courthouse. Those unlucky individuals caught with less than 4 ounces of marijuana will have their stash field-tested by a police supervisor, weighed, and taken into evidence. Now, weedless but free, the suspect must provide a thumbprint and sign a promissory summons to show up at the Dallas County Courthouse on the agreed-upon date. Failure to comply is not an option – those who decline to show up will have a warrant issued for their immediate arrest.
Offering little help for recidivist or those with illicit intent, the policy change will only apply to individuals living in Dallas County who’ve committed no other crimes.
Excluded by request from the program, Denton, Collin, Kaufman and Rockwall counties declined to participate in Dallas County’s new cite–and-release pot policy.