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.
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.
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.