The new sheriff, district attorney, and police in Houston, Texas are in agreement that it is time to stop charging people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana. This softer approach marks a climatic shift in the way marijuana laws will now be imposed locally.
When Houston’s newly-elected district attorney Kim Ogg was sworn in, she highlighted the views she communicated on cannabis prosecution during her campaign. “All misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail,” she stated at her swearing in ceremony.
Elected on a platform that included marijuana and drug law reform, the new DA told KHOU 11 News she intends to keep her campaign promises to ensure misdemeanor marijuana possession suspects don’t end up in jail.
Ogg stated, “Today’s the day we come charging out of the gate with the reforms we promised. That’s what we intend to deliver and that’s where I want to focus and our resources to be directed.”
She has stated she can save taxpayers millions of dollars by not arresting marijuana users caught with less than four ounces. Instead, Ogg wants to target violent criminals. “I never felt it was fair to put users in jails with murderers,” she said on a local ABC affiliate.
Ed Gonzalez, the city’s new sheriff, showed support for the plan, as did Houston’s new police chief Art Acevedo who also expressed support for cannabis law reform. Speaking on a local radio program, Acevedo said he sees Texas moving toward acceptance of cannabis and that he would prefer to focus on the “bigwigs.” “For those that are involved in the violence of the drug trade, that’s who I want to focus on,” he stated. “I want to focus on the people that are the big movers and shakers that are poisoning young people.”