Dallas DA will no longer prosecute first-time cannabis misdemeanors

Twitter icon

A memo released by the Dallas County district attorney John Creuzot states that first-time cannabis-related misdemeanors will no longer be prosecuted by his office. He also announced in the statement that first-time misdemeanors currently in-process that were filed before he took office will be thrown out.

Creuzot said the change is just part of “a step forward in ending mass incarceration in Dallas County.” The memo also included other changes in priority for law enforcement such as no longer prosecuting small possession charges for other drugs, people caught stealing “necessities” as well as anyone who drove with a suspended license.  

“The criminal justice system has fallen disproportionately harshly on poor people and people of color, that’s just a fact,” said Creuzot. “The entire system is complicit in this dysfunction. We’re doing what we can within this office to address some of that.”

When Creuzot was in the running for the DA’s office last year, his promises were to lessen the prison population in Dallas, currently booking around 67,000 people per year, in addition to making changes to Dallas’ cash bail reform.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, nearly 379,000 people have been arrested for possession in the last five years alone for having less than two ounces of cannabis.

“Our current system is uncoupled from physical safety and fairness, as people sit in jail not because they pose an identifiable danger to the community, but because they cannot pay their fee to go home,” Creuzot wrote in the memo. “When low-income people are held in jail simply because they cannot afford a few hundred dollars, they lose their jobs, housing, stability, and cannot take care of their children: this makes our communities less safe.”

According to El Paso Representative Joe Moody, detaining and prosecuting these people costs the state $730 million each year.  

Moody made a third attempt at a marijuana decriminalization bill two weeks ago which made it out of committee. The bill will change the punishment for small time possession to a $250 penalty, rather than 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

e-mail icon Facebook icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon Reddit icon
Rate this article: 
Article category: 
Regional Marijuana News: