New Police Chief and DA plan to ease up on marijuana punishments

The new police chief and District Attorney say it's time to ease up on the punishments for those caught with marijuana.

Top Houston area law and order officials are taking a softer tone when it comes to marijuana. It marks a dramatic shift in the way marijuana laws could be enforced locally.

New Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg beat out Devon Anderson on a platform that included marijuana and drug law reform.

"I never felt it was fair to put users in jails with murderers," said Ogg.

Ogg now vows to follow through on her campaign promises to ensure misdemeanor marijuana possession suspects don't end up in jail. And she's not alone.

New Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has expressed support for the plan and just last week HPD's new chief Art Acevedo also voiced support for marijuana law reform in a radio interview with advocate Dean Becker.

"It's the ability of elected officials to say what they want, what they really think, without the fear of public reaction that has opened this door," said Becker. "And it's going to open wider as we go along."

Becker says tone matters and the way area leaders are now talking about marijuana is catching the attention of people across the country.

"Violent criminals, that's where we need to have our police officers looking," said Becker. "Not searching for people's weed."

Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen has also voiced support for a different approach on marijuana enforcement too.

"It will modify how we do business, but it will keep more officers on the street looking for dangerous offenders," said Rosen.

So will marijuana laws change at the state level anytime soon?

It's still too early to answer that question, but Becker believes this new tone from law enforcement leaders and the new district attorney signals change will come to Texas and finally catch up to public opinion.

"The public has been ahead of them for a decade or so," said Becker. "Sixty-five percent of people support legislation."


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