Dallas votes down cite and release for marijuana
The Dallas City Council has voted down a measure to implement a cite and release program for those found with small amounts of marijuana.
Under the plan, Dallas police officers would issue court summons rather than making arrests when Dallas residents are found to be in possession of less than four ounces of marijuana.
An issue with parts of Dallas being in other counties seems to have killed the proposal however, even though it garnered support from several council members and Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Sandy Greyson, who represents parts of Far North Dallas that are in Denton and Collin County said she would not support the measure because the unequal application of the law was basically unfair since those residents reside in a different sheriff’s jurisdiction and would not have been eligible for cite-and-release.
Philip Kingston, the council’s most outspoken supporter of cite-and-release, said allowing those found with marijuana to stay out of jail as long as they showed up later for court was the least the city could do.
“I’m as transparent about this as I can be. My hope is that this will finally convince DPD to ignore marijuana. That is my goal, that they will ignore marijuana. I know that I don’t have the power to legalize the stuff, but I do have the power to correctly allocate criminal justice resources that are under my control so that they aren’t spent on pot,” he told the Dallas Observer in December.
Another council member had a different take, “I have an idea. If you don’t want to be arrested for pot and possession don’t bring it in your car. Leave it at home,” Rickey Callahan said. “I would also posit that a lot of what leads to the poverty is buying the drugs.”
The council voted 10-5 to oppose the program, with Rawlings deciding to oppose the measure as well due to the inconsistent enforcement. “I can’t be voting for things that are [inconsistently applied across the city],” he said.
Kingston, Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Mark Clayton, and Lee Kleinman voted to support cite-and-release. Greyson, Callahan, Casey Thomas II, Carolyn King Arnold, Monica Alonzo, Tiffinni Young, Erik Wilson, B. Adam McGough, and Jennifer Gates voted against.
DFW NORML, a non-profit marijuana law reform advocacy organization representing Dallas, Fort Worth, and the surrounding areas has been set to discuss the cite and release policy at their upcoming March meeting.