On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council will consider a progressive program aimed at decriminalizing the personal possession of no more than 4 ounces of marijuana.
Already decriminalized in Harris County, Texas – the most populous county in the state of Texas – the Dallas City Council’s proposal to decriminalize less than 4 ounces of pot was initially suggested in 2016. The Dallas Observer reports that Interim Police Chief Pughes plans to “follow whatever recommendation the Council gives.”
Dallas County Decriminalization
Pushing for a cite-and-release policy, the proposed Dallas City Council program would obligate the Dallas Police to issue tickets for marijuana possession rather than make arrests. Currently, those caught with less than 2 ounces of marijuana in the Lone Star State face the ugly reality of spending up to six months in the county jail and shelling out $2,000 in fines.
The primary objective of the decriminalization proposal is to reduce the amount of time and money wasted by the Dallas Police Officers on simple marijuana infractions. No longer squandering their time with nonviolent marijuana offenses, many believe programs like this will decrease the jail’s swelling population and officer response times for real crimes.
As reported by CBS DFW, the ordinance would allow individuals 17 or older with a valid ID, and who have no prior convictions, to be cited and released after providing a simple thumbprint.
Texas State Decriminalization
Potentially great news for the pot smoking residents of Dallas County, those in the “surrounding areas” will have to wait and see how House Bill 81 progresses through the 2017 legislative session.
Sponsored by State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), the passage of HB 81 would replace penalties and jail time for all residents of Texas caught with less than 1 ounce of pot – instead, treating any minor marijuana possession (under 1 ounce) like a simple traffic infraction.