At a press conference Wednesday Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, a Republican, said that beginning Monday non-violent individuals caught carrying up to two ounces of cannabis for the first time won’t be hit with a criminal charge or put in jail, but instead will be required to either perform eight hours of community service, or take a drug awareness class.
“Our goal is to keep these individuals from entering the revolving door of the criminal justice system”, says Anderson.
The move is supported by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland. Anderson says that although the new program is a six-month pilot project, it will likely be expanded at the end of that period, and may soon grow to include other non-violent drug offenses.
According to Anderson, the program will effect around 2,000 people annually.