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Houston Officials Set New Cannabis Tone in Texas

January 4, 2017
Houston Texas Aerial Over Passing Interchanges Cityscape the large mega city of H-Town is shown here during middle of summer August 14th 2016 . High above the city with over passing , intersection roadways and massive traffic build ups the vast cityscape skyline of houston is in the middle with high skyscrapers
The new year has brought a dramatic change of tone regarding the enforcement of marijuana laws in Texas. Earlier this week, new Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg declared that her office would no longer seek to put small-time cannabis offenders in jail. During her swearing-in ceremony on Monday, she said that “all misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail.”

Ogg added: “I’ve never felt good about putting marijuana users in the same jail cells as murderers. It’s just not fair, it doesn’t make any sense, and our country is resoundingly against that.”

Harris County incorporates Houston, the state’s largest city, where new Police Chief Art Acevedo voiced support for cannabis law reform last week.

During a local radio interview, Acevedo said he believes in the next few years Texas will see a “rigorous review” of the medical benefits of cannabis.  He shared his thoughts on 90.1 KPFT’s Cultural Baggage Program, hosted by Dean Becker, last Friday.

“I think you’ll have a really spirited but well-informed discussion, and at some point I could really foresee, in the future, marijuana and some other oils being legalized for medicinal purposes; it will probably be the first step in Texas,” Acevedo said during the program, which was pre-recorded in Houston.

The chief said that it’s important to focus on the big-time players in the drug trade, and those who are harming local communities.

“For those that are involved in the violence of the drug trade, that’s who I want to focus on,” he said. “I want to focus on the people that are the big movers and shakers that are poisoning young people.”

The chief also added he would like to implement a program he used in Austin, where he served as police chief before moving to Houston. That program focused on giving low level street corner drug dealers a second chance. Mainly, under the program, dealers were given an offer: Their charges would be conditionally set aside if they enter a program, turn their lives around, and obey the law.

If they did not, then the charges would be subsequently reinstated.

Adult use and medical marijuana are currently illegal in Texas. The state has a CBD-only law, passed on June 1, 2015. The law was aimed to help treat seizures, and allows three companies to get licenses to grow and distribute low-THC medicine to patients with epilepsy in Texas. The medicine can contain no more than 0.5% THC.

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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • malcolmkyle

    Prohibition always causes more damage than it’s worth.

    On Monday, February 10, 1929, New York newspapers proudly announced liquor conspiracy indictments against 31 corporations and 158 individuals in Chicago. The liquor ring’s operations allegedly extended through Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Los Angeles and North Bergen, N.J. with alcohol diversion in the millions of gallons and turnover estimated at over $50 million a year. One of the New York corporations involved, Allied Drug and Chemical, was reportedly headed by bank director Alfred E. Van Horn.

    On that same day, 917 Chicagoans were reported arrested and further declines in wheat prices were announced.

    The great crash came 8 months later. Just 10 years after the start of federal alcohol prohibition. The ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution (end of prohibition) came just 4 years later on December 5, 1933.

  • Food for thought…
    Lettuce not forget former Texas state House rep David Simpson’s
    2015 bill, HB 2165, which proposed striking EVERY reference to
    “marihuana” from Texas State criminal code, to essentially “legalize”
    it like tomatoes, “regulate” it like jalapeño peppers…

  • lovingc

    Adult use and medical marijuana are currently illegal in Texas. The state has a CBD-only law, passed on June 1, 2015. The law was aimed to help treat seizures, and allows three companies to get licenses to grow and distribute low-THC medicine to patients with epilepsy in Texas. The medicine can contain no more than 0.5% THC.
    Not a drop has ever been sold legally in the state due to the requirement of a prescription.

  • Thomas Lee DuDash

    You should’ve gotten fed up with putting your children in jail a long time ago. Better late than never, like Louisiana.

  • Tracey Walker Meeker

    write and call your Texas Congressman that are supposed to work for us citizens of Texas–they need to know their constituents beliefs,,,its easy to do and the telephone numbers are all on GOOGLE….

  • Skankherder

    Aren’t there still dry counties in texas? Don’t worry about the rough landing, just duct tape some wings on that sow and let her go. Saw a dude get 45 years for less than half a join down there. Get the good Ole boys outta the system and Texas could improve. Come on Nick, let em smoke it in San antone too.

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