Dallas To Lessen Marijuana Punishment

People of Dallas, Texas may soon be able to avoid going to jail for possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Supposedly, the county criminal justice leaders are developing a way so that police can ticket individuals for small possession.  The system is being planned to be launched in January 2015.  

According to officials, the goal is to reduce the jail population and allow police to focus on other things.  “This is about not tying up officers and bringing them back out onto the street,” said Ron Stretcher, director of criminal justice for Dallas County.  Ticketing instead of arresting for small amounts of marijuana would result in hundreds fewer arrests in the city each month.

Over the past few years, the idea has been gaining support from not just marijuana supporters, but some conservatives as well.  Being that it costs around $63 per day to hold an inmate in the Dallas County Jail, conservatives feel it would be a way to save law enforcement money.

The policy, however, will not lead to decriminalization.  The new laws would mean it would be probable that a first time offender would not receive jail time.  Yet, the maximum punishment for possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana will remain the same - 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.