Harris County, Texas has a population greater than 24 states in the U.S., with over 4 million people. As of today, January 1st, those in the county caught possessing up to two ounces of cannabis for the first time will no longer be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison. Instead, they’ll be given a citation and mandated to attend a diversion program.
The new policy, titled the First Chance Intervention Program, was put forth by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. Although those caught possessing cannabis for the 2nd time will still be charged with a misdemeanor, Anderson says that the law is expected to be expanded in the future to include all cannabis offenses of two ounces or less.
Harris County is the third most populous county in the United States and the most populous county in Texas.