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Marijuana now a court summons for some in Houston area

Changes are coming in the Houston area where some people who are caught with marijuana will not be put in jail.

Outlining changes to a plan previously put in place late last year that would allow first time offenders to be given a court summons rather than be taken to jail, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson has stated that it will be mandatory for all agencies within the county to participate in the program. It had previously been voluntary.

The plan calls for people who have never been arrested for marijuana before that are caught with less than two ounces to not be arrested, and they will instead take part in a pre-trial diversion program which includes fines, community service, and drug education classes.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson.

Upon completion, there will be no charges filed, and there will not be an arrest recorded on their record. In some instances however if the officer does not have the proper equipment in their vehicle, a person may be taken to a processing center where they will then receive a summons.

Anderson has previously come under fire as many agencies ignored the plan and arrested people anyways, causing an arrest to show up on their record. In the past year, 2,270 people have been enrolled in the program. Of those, 78 percent were arrested, transported to a police station and saw a judge before being offered the program.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

She won a tough battle for her seat last year after her Democratic opponent Kim Ogg unveiled a similar plan. Anderson followed suit soon after and announced her own plan.

The new requirements go into effect January 1 of 2016.


Contact Texas Cannabis Report

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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  1. Demetrius Russell
    November 12, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    As the article said she followed suite of Kim Ogg. I have to say though Mrs Anderson has stuck to her word by making improvements to the plan. We would like to see the plan not be limited to first time offenders, but I understand the politics of its current standard now.
    I’ll just take it upon myself to reach out to her and try to extend this program to all victimless marijuana law offenders. Not just first timers. Until it’s regulated like alcohol, I guess I won’t get too much rest…..

  2. November 13, 2015 at 11:55 am

    The media keeps getting it wrong. Saying there is a citation instead of an arrest. The opposite is true. There is NO citation. There IS an arrest.

    If a person is issued a citation, it means they are facing a formal charge. FCIP is “pre-charge” so they never have a charge filed against them at all. No citation, no ticket, no summons, no charge.

    Here are the facts:

    It’s a program notice form, just a simple agreement stating they will contact pretrial services within 3 days to initiate the program. It’s not a citation or a summons or any kind of acknowledgement of a criminal charge.

    The person is arrested, transported to a police station, fingerprinted and then released. As long as they sign the program notice form, they will be released from custody, they will not be booked into jail or charged or cited.

    Soon, HPD will start equipping their vehicles with mobile AFIS machines. So some officers will identify and fingerprint the individual at the scene, and then let them go at the scene, no need for transport.

    There is an arrest record that will need to be expunged.

    DA Devon Anderson sent an advisory directive to all 50 law enforcement agencies in the county. informing them that beginning Jan. 1, they must follow the program.

  3. rickyb
    November 17, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    If someone has an unopened six-pack of beer, or unopened bottle of wine, or some kind of hard liquor, are they also going to be fingerprinted? Are they going to be cited? Are they going to be sent to community service?

    This “ordinance” seems to be predicated on the mistaken assumption that cannabis use or possession is somehow wrong or otherwise socially unacceptable. It is not.

    Users of cannabis may simply choose it over alcohol or the myriad of medications that the drug companies dole out for profit.

    How long is are cannabis users going to be singled out for legal action?

    The stoner concept was invented by the comedians Cheech & Chong. It is false, and the concept was created by them to make money at the movie houses.

    It has been 80 years of ridiculous prohibition, time to end it completely once and for all.

  4. Joe
    November 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    A citation? It should of never been a crime to begin with! It’s time to cut the BS and legalize Marijuana in Texas like all the other states are doing. I mean, we’re getting arrested and locked up for possession of a non toxic plant which is a million times safer than alcohol & tobacco combined here! That to me is completely ridiculous and straight BS! It’s time to vote all of these A55#0L£5 (that keep Marijuana illegal here in Texas) out of office already! And we also need to vote for Marijuana to be completely removed from the US Federal Controlled Substances Act for the simple fact that Marijuana is a marvelous plant with multi-medicinal qualities and many other resources…..

  5. M J Dreamer
    November 19, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Is time for us to do something about this. I’m from El Paso Tx. I’m planing to bring together a group to fight cannabis rights stronger than ever. Its not only our medicine but our sacrament God gave us to grow spiritually. And to get closer to nature and everything a life on earth. Let’s stop that ego and bring the joy and love back to this world. We really need a change now. Its time!!! Wake up call!!!! Let’s heal the world together. Theirs no obstacles only our minds

  6. rickyb
    December 2, 2015 at 12:45 am

    Houston already had a citation law for cannabis back in 1978. Two ounces of cannabis amounted to a $ 27.50 fine. No fingerprints, no pre-trial divergence, no community service, no drug education, no record. A fine of $ 27.50 back then, was the equivalent of a traffic ticket for a burned out tail light.

    It boils down to this:

    The alcohol industry is petrified that cannabis will upset their monopoly of recreational drugs; you know, beer, wine, hard liquor etc. The pharmaceutical industry is petrified that cannabis will upset their dominance of dozens, if not hundreds, of over the counter and prescription medicines. Both of these industries are willing to spend millions of dollars to maintain the status quo. Can you guess who the recipients of those millions are?

    It’s all a money thing. They’ve got it, and they’re scared of losing it. Yeah,
    I reckon I might want to keep it too, but as a taxpaying conservative, I realize we can’t go around tromping on other taxpayers’ constitutional rights. They did that in Germany 75 years ago, and in Russia still today.
    It doesn’t work.

    Cannabis is non-toxic. Actually, a person would have to smoke or ingest about 1500 pounds of it, ALL AT ONCE to obtain a lethal dose. It would cost about a million bucks too. Hey, these are government figures, and they never lie. Anyway, look it up if you think I’m mistaken. Google is waiting.

    So, do you suppose that there are any other industries that might be afraid of losing their paychecks when cannabis becomes legal ?

    See if you can guess. That’s your homework assignment.