Marijuana: Despite Law Allowing Ticketing for Pot Possession, Most Texas Counties Still Arrest

Thanks to a new state law that went into effect on September 1, law enforcement agencies in Texas now have the option of simply ticketing misdemeanor marijuana possession offenders instead of arresting them. The law, which also applies to a handful of other misdemeanor offenses, was designed to alleviate chronic overcrowding in Texas jails and make better use of police resources. However, almost no one in Texas is taking advantage of it.

According to a report this week in the Dallas Morning News, only the Travis County (Austin) Sheriff's Department is ticketing instead of arresting misdemeanor marijuana offenders. Officials in Dallas, Tarrant (Fort Worth), and Collin (suburban Dallas) counties gave varying reasons for failing to implement the cost-saving measure, ranging from "system inadequacies" to the belief it will "send the wrong message" about marijuana use.

"It may... lead some people to believe that drug use is no more serious than double parking," Collin County prosecutor Greg Davis told the Morning News.

"I think the legislature was very sensitive to the fact that there are so many jails that are overcrowded," said Terri Moore, Dallas County's first assistant district attorney. "This was a great idea, but it raises a lot more questions that we are not ready to answer."

"These are not just tickets. These are crimes that need to be appropriately dealt with," said Ron Stretcher, Dallas County's director of criminal justice. "We want to make sure we get them back to court to stand trial. It's not about emptying the jail. It's about making sure that we have room in the jail for the people who need to be there," he said.

But the Travis County Sheriff's Department said merely ticketing marijuana offenders was smart policy. "There are folks that think we are being soft on crime because we are just giving tickets. We are still hard on crime," said spokesman Roger Wade. "We believe if we can save resources and have the same effect on crime, then we should take advantage of this."

Prosecutors in north Texas counties also cited the lack of a system for dealing with misdemeanor tickets. But that seems pretty feeble.

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No surprise

This is a fascist police state.

No such thing as a "misdemeanor marijuana possession" in Texas

That's a fact, but there's economic reasons for it too. A misdemeanor citation takes just a few minutes of a police officer's time whereas arresting, booking, report writing and later court appearances (often at time and half pay or compensatory time off --for bass fishing--) really suits the deputies. Then there's the D.A.'s lawyers who need to justify their time and expense by pointing to a number of felony convictions; let's not forget prison guards need the work. Hell's bells the Texas Department of Corrections needs people to work their farms, machine shops...it goes on and on.

Gerald Sutliff
Bakersfield, CA 93304

proof positive that power is more addictive than pot

Police depts get max funding when running at or above capacity. Makes no sense to them to have empty jail beds. Plus who would want to give up all that power and machismo feeling one gets from putting a good for nothing pothead in the slammer?

Embellishments

Although the online newspaper account has now been changed and I'm sure the charges were amended, Madison county is going a step farther. Some poor fool must have tried to swallow a joint, because the initial report said he was charged with "tampering and destruction of evidence". I suppose that is now possession, less than two ounces, $1000 bond.

Sometimes they just have to be creative!

Texas Pot Laws

Being from Texas, I AM NOT SURPRISED ONE BIT!!!!
I'll stay in Cali.

Allergic to Change

California had no problems implementing a ticket citation system for marijuana possession. For that matter, I’ve never heard of any state besides Texas that’s had problems adopting ticketing for low level drug offenses.

But let someone try to change some pointless drug law in Texas, and it’s like they've kicked over an ant hill.

Giordano

Texa$

Yeah ,and the Texas "ants" are all about job protection.Sooner or later Texas will run into the wall of financial overload, just like the rest of the USA.When your out of funds the prohibition game is over.Only Texans would want to live in Texas.

TeX Ass

It is all one big money scheme! That will not change over here,..Im going back home to Cali as soon
as I can!

Texas is Fascist capital of the world !

As the governor of the state of Texas, our current president first learned how to execute the mentally ill, and lie to get what he wanted... the currently $ profitable $ war for him and his political contributors. When I was young, I never would have believed that the American people in general or Texans in particular would allow themselves to be ruled by such thugs, murderers, and hypocrites. I left Texas years ago and have no plans to return. Unfortunately, most of America is almost as bad as Texas.

Texans have become the spineless slaves of their fascist leaders. I cannot understand how the citizens allowed their liberty and their principles to be compromised is such ways. Do Texans really believe that the pain and suffering inflicted by the police is making their world a better place?

When I was a child, there was a huge sign on a building in Pasadena, Texas that proudly proclaimed the honor and duty of the Klu Klux Klan. How was that different from the "serve and protect" propaganda, currently displayed by the thugs who abuse innocent citizens in the name of the drug war. They lie, they kill, and are certainly not accountable to the citizens they murder. I am ashamed of my country and of what it has become.

Deep In The Heart of Texas!

Texas is awesome! I am proud to say I am a Texan. I feel sorry for all of you from Cali. Have fun with that :]

GOT CAUGHT AND NOW ON 1 YEAR PROBABTION

I was heading to work when I got pulled over for some BS. THey didn't ask to search or anything like that. They found a roach and thats it it almost weighted a gram. Yea I got 1 year probation for that. Pisses me off.,........

help me fight please

Recently I was arrested in the state of texas ( johnson county) and my car towed for possession of marjuana under 2 gms. was booked in jail for a period of 29 hours and released on bond for $1150 to my own expense. The evidence was obtaind against will ( they searchd with out my concent while my vehicle was locked) and all of which was taped and recorded via cop car cam. my questions involve that of the texas state law regarding such an offence on behalf of the arresting officer and any other knowledge or advice that could be offerd in my defence of such an offence in the court., anything that can be offerd will help and much thanks to any person willing to help me fight the injustice of this offence and put the fascist police at bay., please help anyone out there

the post above

this is all bullshit. i had

this is all bullshit.
i had marijuana and was arrested for cocaine
although i had none [that charge was dropped].
if they want to take you to jail, they will. period.

funny story

I have a friend who is a cop..he basically told me that "the truth is what ever we say it is"...

Long story short? Don't get caught.

How do we change/repeal laws in Texas?

Can you point me in the right direction of where I need to start to get the Texas Laws regarding marijuana repealed? There has to be a legal way to do this.

its just pot

lets get real first off marijuana should be TOTALLY legal!!!! I don't have hours to prove my point but all I can say is educate yourself about marijuana with the truth and facts!!! I have experimented with drugs in my early years and I conclude that DRINKING is WAY MORE SERIOUS and does WAY more harm then smoking pot.....How about us focusing on keeping all the irresponsible drunks off the road and lighten up on us potheads????

I was just arrested in

I was just arrested in travis county for a felony charge possession of marijuana. Which is more than four ounces..less than five pounds. There were four of us in the vehicle and the driver got out and ran. They charged the other three of us with a felony and booked us into jail since the total weight of marijuana was a little over four ounces. Granted the four ounces were not all together in the vehicle. Some was in the back, some on me, some in the front, and some in the center console. In the police report the officer wrote he assumed that all the marijuana came from the black back pack in the back seat which did contain the majority of it. But since not one of us personally was in possession of 4 ounces or more does that technically mean they can only charge one of us with a felony? I personally think this is bull shit. Please give me your opinion if you have one.

I agree. They should just

I agree. They should just legalize pot. I know people who have been arrested for only having pot and smoking it. I don't know of any deaths from pot, but I know people who have died from drinking. In my opinion legalizing pot would help the economy.

i was arrested for

i was arrested for possession of marijuana less than 2 ounces in wilson county, texas. i had, including the weight of the bag, maybe 5 grams of marijuana and a pipe. i wasn't driving and i wasn't smoking. i even had a designated driver to drive me home that night. they arrested me w/o reading me my miranda rights and drove me 40 miles back to floresville to the jail. on a saturday night one day after high school graduation. I'm 22 and on a night with hundreds of underage high school kids partying and drinking and driving around this particular cop felt that my 5 grams of bud was enough to throw me in jail. dont you think they should have higher priorities in this day in age with so much opposition against drunk driving. whats worse: a 17 yr old kid with a truck and a 30 pack? or a polite, cooperative 22 yr old with no prior arrests and about 5 dollars worth of weed which i wasnt even smoking? i'm not the smartest person in the world but i guess i have more common sense than that cop had. don't you think we should have our cops concentrating on the real criminals? vandals, drunk drivers, drug DEALERS, and the list goes on. did you know that in texas in 2007 97% of all marijuana arrests were for possession less than 2 ounces. that comes out to 68, 758 people!

what everyone should be

what everyone should be doing is contacting their local Texas county sheriff and urging him to encourage the Texas law enacted in 2007 that gives law enforcement officers the option to issue a citation for the possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana as applicable by state law. Most law enforcement agencies in Texas are refusing to give any citations in fear of "sending the wrong message". What message are they trying to send? because the only thing they are doing is contributing to the overcrowding of jails and the imprisoning of otherwise law abiding citizens. It is estimated that the cost of marijuana arrests for This law nicknamed the marijuana ticket law was specifically enacted to reduce the overcrowding of minor offenders in prisons thus making more space and time available to arrest more serious offenders. This does not change the maximum fine or jail sentence that can be imposed already. All marijuana laws still stand. But you and I can help change that by contacting our local law enforcement officials with the highest power like the police chief or more importantly the county sheriff and asking for their proactive support in issuing citations instead of making pointless arrests for up to 4 ounces of marijuana witch has a maximum fine of up to 4000 dollars.

Texas is Behind in the Times...

I love my state, but they need to realize that there are many other things out there that they should be more concerned about. Drunk driving and alcohol related accidents WAAAAAY outnumber Marijuana related incidents. In fact, I have not heard of a single case where Marijuana was the cause of death. Its physically impossible to overdose on Marijuana. You just couldn't smoke enough. Most pot smokers are also smart enough to know that you DON'T mix alcohol and weed smoke. THAT is asking for trouble.

I just don't understand how a state can legalize alcohol when there are so many more dangerous side effects to it than Marijuana. My aunt smoked Marijuana till the day she died as a cancer and aids patient. It not only helped with the pain, but gave her an appetite. I literally watched her waste away and if it had not been for the weed, she would not have lasted as long...

So in other words, this fine state needs to get with the program!!! There are 16 other states out there (for now) that don't see a problem with legalizing it! COME ON, LONE STAR STATE!

I was caught with dust in a

I was caught with dust in a baggy and git charged with possession under 2 oz ant that same shit try to get thst one but a kid can kill 4 people drinking and driving and get probation but I will probably go to jail fucked up world we are in wish mmy parents spoiled me so I can get off with anything

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