Marijuana prosecutions in Houston could change again
The previous election for District Attorney in Harris County turned into a race to present the better plan for dealing with marijuana offenders.
The 2016 election for DA in Houston could be shaping up to be similar to the last one in 2014. In fact, it features the same two candidates.
Incumbent Republican Devon Anderson was appointed to the position by former Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2013 and held the seat in a close election during 2014 to fill out the term. She ran unopposed in the GOP primary this year.
She’ll face off against Democratic nominee Kim Ogg, who trounced her opponents in the primaries this week.
This pits the two in a rematch, and Ogg has already brought out the issue of small time marijuana arrests again, along with several other issues.
“I am honored that voters have chosen me to lead criminal justice reform in Harris County by making me the Democratic nominee for District Attorney,” Ogg stated. “Together, we will return fairness, justice and safety to our criminal justice system and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.”
Ogg originally pushed Anderson to develop a stronger plan for dealing with marijuana offenders caught with small amounts of cannabis.
Those now detained in Harris County who have never been arrested for marijuana before that are caught with less than two ounces are no longer arrested and instead are given a court summons. They then take part in a pre-trial diversion program which includes fines, community service, and drug education classes.
The program was originally optional for agencies in the county, and fell short at first as many people were still given arrest records. Now the program is mandatory.
A poll performed by KHOU – Houston Public Media showed 62 percent of those in the Houston are in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, with 29 percent opposed, and eight percent undecided.