A routine traffic stop in Texas on May 16 led to the discovery of what police described as a "large amount" of marijuana. The 30-year-old Mississippi man who was behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV involved has been charged with possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana and possessing between 4 and 400 grams of a controlled substance. He was also cited for driving without a valid driver's license. His bond has been set at $4,500, according to media accounts of the incident.
A 19-year-old man was taken into custody by police in Brown County on May 8 just one day after he was placed on probation for a misdemeanor drug charge. The man has been charged with aggravated robbery and is being held at a local detention facility in lieu of a $100,000 bond according to media reports. He is accused of attempting to rob the apartment of a Buffview man during the early morning hours of May 7 to obtain marijuana to sell on the street. His 24-year-old alleged accomplice has also been taken into custody.
A bill that would have completely removed penalties associated with possessing small amounts of marijuana in Texas has been amended. Initially, the bill was intended to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis. However, this piece of legislation was rewritten just before it was set to be heard by the state House of Representatives.
In Hartley County in Texas, 42% of individuals taken into custody are charged with marijuana possession. That figure is 42.1% farther south in Sterling County. Nationally, roughly 6% of all people taken into custody face marijuana possession charges. However, it is not uncommon for that number to spike to nearly 20% in many jurisdictions throughout the country. This is in spite of the fact that there is a push in many areas to legalize the substance.
Some Texas residents may find a release from drug cases and other minor criminal charges after the Dallas County district attorney said that his office will no longer focus on prosecuting these types of cases. He noted that this is an attempt to deal with a mass incarceration problem and reflected the campaign promises that saw him elected to the position. Some of the cases the office will decline to prosecute include matters related to first-time marijuana or THC possession, possession of small "trace" amounts of other drugs, criminal trespass, or small-scale theft.
Two Texas men were taken into custody after SWAT team members from the Brownwood Police Department and the Brown County Sheriff's Office executed search warrants at their homes on March 28 and March 29. A 55-year-old Brownwood man has been charged with possessing drugs with the intent to deliver, and he faces a sentencing enhancement because narcotics were allegedly discovered in a drug-free zone. A 57-year-old Brownwood man faces drug and weapons possession charges.
Texas residents may be interested in learning how a Harris County district attorney pushed for a change that has led to an 80 percent reduction in marijuana possession-related misdemeanors. In Harris County, a program implemented by the district attorney allows individuals to go through a special course as opposed to being arrested for marijuana possession.
The Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in the Texas House has approved House Bill 63 that calls for marijuana decriminalization. Written by an El Paso Democrat, the bill seeks to reduce penalties for people caught with less than an ounce of marijuana. Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana represents a Class B misdemeanor and could impose fines up to $2,000 on offenders as well as jail sentences up to 180 days.
There is no doubt that marijuana use is a hot top in the Texas Legislature this year. Following a nationwide trend, there are nearly 60 proposed bills in the statehouse currently related to marijuana in one form or another. They include bills dealing with cannabis for medicinal use and testing for use to obtain public benefits.
The superintendent of a Texas public school system was recently arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. The incident took place near Waco on March 7.