Just to be clear, marijuana is still illegal in Texas.
But, a new program known as “cite and release” gives Dallas police the option to give someone possessing less than four ounces of marijuana a citation to appear in court and then let him or her go, instead of taking the accused to jail. The new program takes effect Friday.
Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Gary Tittle sees it as an opportunity for taxpayers to save money and for police to save time and pursue more serious crimes.
“It’s a huge number who will be eligible for cite and release. In 2016 alone, 432 individuals would have been eligible for cite and release,” he says.
Tittle and other city officials held a public informational session this week to answer questions about the new program, which only applies to residents insidethe city of Dallas.
The word citation might sound like a ticket, but it’s not. Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Ellyce Lindberg explained after the forum.
And there are caveats: To be eligible, the person has to be a resident of Dallas County with no other convictions or outstanding warrants and have a valid Texas state ID or driver’s license. The offense also can’t take place in drug-free zones, like schools.
City Council approved creating a program in April. Similar programs are in place in Houston and Austin.