No More Arrests for Marijuana Possession in Harris County, Texas Starting March 1st

By Reuters

Houston and the county that contains the fourth most-populous U.S. city will decriminalize low-level marijuana possession, with officials saying on Thursday that throwing people in jail for having small amounts of pot has “no tangible public safety benefit.”

The policy, which takes effect March 1, means in most circumstances there will be no jail, no tickets, no court appearances and no criminal record for possession of an ounce or two of marijuana in the city and its surrounding county, home to about 4.5 million people.

More than two dozen U.S. states have legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use, but the drug remains illegal at the federal level and in Texas.

The new “Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program” for Harris County applies to people 17 and older facing no additional charges other than misdemeanor marijuana possession, county and city law enforcement officials said in a statement.

“Harris County has spent more than $200 million in the past decade on more than 100,000 cases of misdemeanor marijuana possession,” District Attorney Kim Ogg, a Democrat who took office this year, said in a statement.

She added that the effort “has deprived neighborhoods of officers’ time that could be spent patrolling communities; jail beds that could be used for violent criminals… and judicial court time that should be spent bringing serious criminals to justice.”

The Texas Attorney General’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The move is also aimed at preventing people from being denied education, employment and housing opportunities due to having a criminal record for marijuana possession.

A main provision is for those caught with low-level possession to complete a four-hour course on decision-making at a cost of $150, which will be waived for the indigent. If people eligible for the program do not want to participate, they will be taken to jail and charged with possession.

The county and Houston will give police officers discretion to bring criminal charges. Individuals under court supervision through bond, probation, or deferred adjudication are not eligible since they have agreements not to violate the law, the county and city said.

Ogg said the move falls under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures that says it is the duty of a district attorney “not to convict, but to see that justice is done.”

“With limited resources, we need to be efficient, smart and thoughtful on fighting crime,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a statement.

69 comments

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    • Sasha on April 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm
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    Marijuana is not like other drugs…. I have taken multiple drugs in my life…. Marijuana is to mellow you out its not to make u go… I have super high anxiety but as a cocaine user I did chase that first high both forms as powder and a rock and I could never get that first high. I have tried meth heroine pain pills ecstacy I find marijuana keeps me the calmest. So that’s what I stuck with. I am a proud marijuana user of 10 years now…

    • Alissia Abigail Stevens on April 6, 2018 at 11:11 am
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    I think anyone who thinks this is a bad idea needs to seriously stfu and DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Look at how much marijuana has SAVED lives instead of KILLING like alcohol and cigarettes WAKE THE F*** up ignorant yuppies!!! Its 2018 if you can have a unisex bathroom, you should have marijuana legal…

    • Alissia Abigail Stevens on April 6, 2018 at 10:56 am
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    Beautiful research!! I freaking LOVE those ratings!

    • K®¡$$K® :-)$$ on March 26, 2018 at 2:01 pm
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    Marijuana is not any kind of drug at all! It’s a plant that does what the fuck it’s supposed to do, just like jalapenos, bell peppers, onions, oysters, chocolate candy,etc. As all these things get your dick hard, raise your blood pressure,etc

    • K®¡$$K® :-)$$ on March 26, 2018 at 1:53 pm
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    Marijuana IS a gateway drug. First of all..what is a drug? A drug is ANYTHING that when taken into the human body affects its functioning, and or causes arousal, euphoria, or contentment. Therefore marijuana, wether in its natural form or synthetic, is a DRUG. It is not however, a NARCOTIC DRUG. Now hear this,
    Marijuana is not any kind of drug at all! It’s a plant that does what the fuck it’s supposed to do, just like jalapenos, bell peppers, onions, oysters, chocolate candy,etc. As all these things get your dick hard, raise your blood pressure,etc but these ain’t mf drugs silly. There’s a bunch of shit that gets you a euphoric feeling and arousal aspects and heightened senses but are not necessarily drugs in any way. Marijuana is accepted by all living creatures because animals eat it ingest smoke and barely shy away because it’s different thing but for the most part it won’t hurt a thing to spark that thing. Get ya head right and smoke tonight and the next time you holla at me, you just might say it (write).

    • Spillin the T on March 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm
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    Be VERY careful when adding synthetic marijuana with marijuana. The synthetic version is dangerous and not an herb or plant like marijuana. The synthetic crap does serious brain damage in some cases and even death. It is totally ignorant and irresponsible to put them together in ANY WAY!!

    • Brian on March 7, 2018 at 2:31 am
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    Good Lord so Viagra, cough medicine, a cigar??? Are all drugs that we should ban????

    • Anonymous on March 2, 2018 at 5:37 am
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    Wrong. A drug is anything MAN MADE. CANNABIS (it’s actual name) is a plant.

    • Anonymous on March 1, 2018 at 6:34 pm
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    You spelled your whole sentence wrong so….

  1. I’m sorry this is my opinion but I in the Maijuana industry is going to help a lot of people in the long run, their are not going to give it to just anybody that doesn’t have a medical card or ID. People with cancer and other kids epilepsy disorder for kids that are going to need it the most.

  2. I’m sorry this is my opinion but I in the Maijuana industry is going to help a lot of people in the long run, their are not going to give it to just anybody that doesn’t have a medical card or ID. People with cancer and other kids epilepsy disorder for kids that are going to need it the most.

    • Nonya on March 1, 2018 at 9:35 am
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    So basically advil is a gateway drug

      • Anonymous on March 2, 2018 at 3:57 pm
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      Alcohol and tobacco are gateway drugs. No, I do not smoke Marijuana.

    • Tankgurl on March 1, 2018 at 7:48 am
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    Most educated comment I’ve seen on here all day

    • Tankgurl on March 1, 2018 at 7:47 am
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    If you feel so strongly about it stop making stupid ass comments online and go make a difference in your community. Cannabis and CBD that’s made from cannabis has actually helped people in this world unlike the man made bullshit they push in our veins or down our throats Everytime we see a doctor in the country. You’re a sheeple a prime example of uneducated stupidity in this world!

    • Matthew on March 1, 2018 at 4:28 am
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    Look we all know yes that it is a drug but what some people like my parents don’t understand is people with anxiety and social anxiety it’s hard to get to know people that’s why people smoke it. But it’s not a BAD drug it’s a medicine I wrote an essay about the pros and cons about marijuana and I found that there are more pros about it, for one Cancer it releaves the pain just like any other pain like headaches and others but it HAS NOT KILLED ONE PERSON YET!!!!! Drunk driving kills!! But being high and driving you focus better… well at least I do.!.!.

    • Traci on March 1, 2018 at 2:27 am
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    I think I will smoke a blunt! Good Morning, Harris County!

    • CeeAnn on March 1, 2018 at 1:20 am
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    Alcohol is the gateway drug. It has been proven more than oncesnd marijuana is not. A little research goes a long way.

    • KB on February 28, 2018 at 11:03 pm
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    A lot of people need to educate their self on marijuana y’all sound real stupid……..

    • RB on February 28, 2018 at 10:55 pm
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    George Washington and those he Led as well as most of our Founding Fathers who followed him till 1937 when Ignorant, Immoral, RACISTS Accepted Positions of Honor, Power, and Authority even Swearing Oaths with hands on Bible Knowingly and Willingly Perguring Themselves by dropping Propaganda bombs that focused primarily on Bigotry stating that Marijuana Made Black Men Become Angry, Violent, Murderous, WHITE WOMAN Rapists Calling it The Marijauna Tax Act of 1937 beginning the nosedive of a plant Our Father Above Provided for us till more LIES and PROPAGANDA finished in the 1970’s stating had 0 of 3 requirements having no Medical Properties at ALL, High Potential for Abuse, and Totally Unacceptable Safety Concerns for a Medicine Classified as Equal to Heroin, and Cocaine under the Controlled Substance Act…Wake Up and Actually Educate America Please!!!

    • ALCIDES on February 28, 2018 at 9:29 pm
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    U ARE SOOOOOOOOOO RIGHT..

    • RB on February 28, 2018 at 8:49 pm
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    Yearly average from 2000- 2016 compiled from CDC archives in USA partial list but Speaks Volumes… 1.Tobacco=480,320 2. Legal pain meds=42,300
    3.Alcohol Induced=33,171
    4.Alcoholic Liver Disease=21,000
    5.Heroin=15,565
    6.Methadone Overdose=3,373
    7.Other Illegal Illicit Drugs Excluding Marijuana, Shrooms, and DMT=17,000
    8.Marijuana and Shrooms Lifetime Death Total since 500-1000 BC= 00000
    9. DMT Dating back Officially to 1931 by Richard Manske=0 (excluding Tribes from Rain Forest due to lack of documentation)

    • Anonymous on February 28, 2018 at 6:33 pm
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    That’s all true

    • Dre on February 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm
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    On the issue of it being a GATEWAY drug. What happens after SOME marijuana users can’t get that GOOD HIGH like the first time they used. SOME of them have a tendency of moving on to other…HARDER drugs to try and find that high or a better one. GATEWAY.

    • Dre on February 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm
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    Marijuana IS a gateway drug. First of all..what is a drug? A drug is ANYTHING that when taken into the human body affects its functioning, and or causes arousal, euphoria, or contentment. Therefore marijuana, wether in its natural form or synthetic, is a DRUG. It is not however, a NARCOTIC DRUG.

      • Anonymous on March 1, 2018 at 1:02 am
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      You spelt whether rong. HaaaAa

    • Dre on February 28, 2018 at 3:08 pm
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    Marijuana IS a gateway drug. First of all..what is a drug? A drug is ANYTHING that when taken into the human body affects its functioning, and or causes arousal, euphoria, or contentment. Therefore marijuana, wether in its natural form or synthetic, is a DRUG. It is not however, a NARCOTIC DRUG.

    • Amie on February 28, 2018 at 11:45 am
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    people drive around while taking pain medication, muscle relaxer, antidepressants (certain ones), anxiety medications, and a list of other mind referring drugs on a daily basis. People also drive drunk… So…

  3. Elaine I bet you have said the N word over 1,000 times…

  4. What’s your point? Marijuana is bad? Right and I imagine you voted for Donald Trump. You know what though , let’s not bring politics into this. So as you took your swig of alcohol , maybe that drag from your cigarette , or where you on your prescription drugs when you wrote this comment , did you think before you wrote this highly uneducated response to this article? Probably not.

    • Aisha on February 28, 2018 at 11:18 am
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    I agree Marijuana use is not harmful as people make it out to be i also have anxiety and I don’t want any parts of this medicine they have out that messes people up way worse than they are where marijuana calms you and for me it balances me out my appetite my attitude not overthinking.

    • Meat on February 28, 2018 at 8:57 am
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    God is not a drug dealer he gave us cannabis on the third day of creation Genesis 1:12 and he said “it is good” . it’s your God given right to consume simply because religious beliefs

    • Ronnie Diaz on February 28, 2018 at 7:40 am
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    So is beer!

    • Anonymous on February 28, 2018 at 6:42 am
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    Why though lol

    • Anonymous on February 28, 2018 at 5:24 am
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    So, what are they gonna do with the criminal records of the folks that got caught previous this Law change, got time served for the offense, and it’s still in their Criminal Background preventing Jobs and getting homes?

    • Anonymous on February 28, 2018 at 1:08 am
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    That uneducated statement says it all!
    Go smoke another joint.

    • Louetta Nicholson on February 27, 2018 at 11:12 pm
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    Another bandaid for a problem not solved ….this story doesn’t tell of any accountability … the marajuana still is mind altering especially people driving, operating equipment not to mention effecting their mind limiting them long term etc etc etc…..very sad and lazy of the Houston authorities…

      • Larry Hare on February 28, 2018 at 8:22 am
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      So is alcohol.

      • Anonymous on February 28, 2018 at 2:27 pm
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      FALSE

    • 420 on February 27, 2018 at 8:51 pm
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    Legalize it…,..

    • Anonymous on February 27, 2018 at 7:52 pm
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    Lmao that’s great

    • D C Smith on February 27, 2018 at 6:41 pm
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    Blah blah blah

    • Jojo on February 27, 2018 at 5:07 pm
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    Tony, I’m confused by your statement. Ogg is for decriminalization of marijuana…what crimes are you referring to?

    • TONI IRWIN on February 27, 2018 at 5:05 pm
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    I would love to rather smoke weed than have to take pain meds. But I cant because it goes against my pain contract.

    • Anonymous on February 27, 2018 at 2:46 pm
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    Maybe u need to smoke a joint

    • was arrested for 1 joint. they were MAD at me.in Houston on February 27, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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    Got me for 1 joint in Houston. They were MAD at me !

    • Anonymously on February 27, 2018 at 1:32 pm
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    GAASSS ME UP PREMIUM PLEASEEE

    • Shaundelyn Gueory on February 27, 2018 at 1:29 pm
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    It’s time for Texas to legalize cannabis. I have PTSD, ANXIETY, AND DEPRESSION. Cannabis works wonders for me but I don’t smoke as I should to help with my diagnosis because of the fear of a criminal charge and jail time. My son has ADHD and he would benefit greatly from Cannabis too. The pharmaceutical drugs are too strong and mind altering for me and my son.

    • Rob B on February 27, 2018 at 12:32 pm
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    You leave it up to the officer? Isn’t that always what you did? There are millions of good police right now who don’t want to go to hell for arresting cannabis users, but there’s a barney fife in every county. Leave it up to the people! More than half of us want you to stop altogether.

    • Tony on February 27, 2018 at 11:37 am
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    I will do everything in my power to see that Kim Ogg is not reelected but not because of this article but because she cares more about crime that hurts Noone than hard crime and she must go!!!!

  5. I think everyone agrees criminalization for a herb that benifits people with 0 deaths but they sell alcohol / tobacco at every store that causes thousands of fatalities yearly , smfh america / governer too full of shit

    • Sammy on February 27, 2018 at 9:47 am
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    Put down the whiskey Elaine, sounding like a drunk leaving such a petty, uneducated and biased comment. Alcohol is the gateway drug. Back when this state was really “Great”, since you seem to remember it so well, what year was that? And what were the laws against marijuana back then?

    • Anonymous on February 27, 2018 at 8:29 am
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    Hell if I can smoke marijuana I would I never heard of anyone getting killed by someone that smoke marijuana.

    • Jackie on February 27, 2018 at 7:29 am
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    Ur so freaking right bunch of freaking idiots

    • Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 10:24 pm
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    Dumbass cunt…why dont you go and buy a four foot bong and shove it up your ass!!!

    • Anonymous on February 26, 2018 at 9:47 pm
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    Ayy bro I feel you it’s still some b’s idgaf bout none of this untill I see it on the news talkin bout we good lol

    • ChrisDEnHd on February 26, 2018 at 8:04 pm
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    Lord, how I despise Harris County Courts….
    ⬅️☢️

    • Fisthere on February 26, 2018 at 7:19 pm
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    If you think about the heavy dose pain meds they give you in the hospital for breaking your ankle is far more greater chance of becoming dependant on that drug vs Marijuana. I mean come on they give you demarol for a sprained ankle lol that’s a drug to bare the pain of having a baby lol how many people have killed or got in trouble by smokingMarijuana? I’ll wait…. If someone did something bad while smoking marijuana, its because they had other drugs in their system.

  6. It keeps getting better!

  7. I lived in the FT Worth Area for 9 years while working for GD. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A MORE BACKWARDS, UNEDUCATED STATE IN MY LIFE WHEN IT COMES TO CANNABIS !! Grab a 6 pack of beer, jump in your truck and go kill someone while driving drunk! That is Oaky Doky but smoke a joint at home and if a neighbor smells the odor, here comes the cops !! Bunch of Rats with no knowledge except the BS the Government puts out and they believe the lies! Glad I transferred back to California !! Texas, Wake UP !!

      • Larry Hare on February 28, 2018 at 8:25 am
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      What the heel makes you think we’re ok with killing someone while drinking & driving? Dumbass.

    • Anonymous on February 23, 2017 at 11:52 am
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    Bet..150 is still to much for a having a lil gram that you only paid 10 for ,and them classes ain’t gonna make no sense just think about it ..”You get caught up and then go to the class and then come out and you see people all around you smoking it”,”oh and it’s some good “..What do you think they gonna Doo.just save that money that y’all Lossing in making them classes for people with weed stupid and will not work .

    • C. Murdoc on February 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm
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    I can’t believe there are still people this ignorant when it comes to marijuana like cmon Elaine get over it. You hate a drug that actually helps people.

    • Elaine K on February 20, 2017 at 4:27 am
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    Way to go Harris Co. How long till you legalize ALL drugs?? Seems like all immorality & all drugs will one day be A-OK in thIS ONCE GREAT STATE OF TEXAS.

    WHAT A SHAME!!!!

      • Justin S on February 21, 2017 at 11:05 am
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      Your comment shows a great deal of ignorance about marijuana. The fact it is classified as the same kind of drug as heroin is ridiculous. Pot smokers are non violent and cause less problems than alcohol consumption. Marijuana does not kill or have any proven long term effects. And there is no chemical dependence. Decriminalizing it keeps non violent people out of jail and saves the county money better spent elsewhere. People need to be educated on marijuana and not feed into the old biased and inaccurate propaganda

    1. Shut up alcohol causes far more deaths and is legal, I bet your ass has a glass of wine or a drink or two. You’d be disturb if alcohol was illegal although it causes many more issues in society. Go read a book and educate yourself on the pros of marijuana!

      • Anonymous on February 23, 2017 at 11:11 am
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      Stfu. It’s a plant not a drug. Enough said.

      • Becki on February 24, 2017 at 9:45 am
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      Please stop smoking crack. That must be what you’re on the have such an ignorant comment. Marijuana is legal in over a dozen states, it isn’t a gateway drug, nor has it ever killed someone. You probably drink alcohol, which has killed people and is a gateway drug. Maybe that should be illegal, then what would you say?

      • Chance on February 26, 2017 at 7:18 pm
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      are you okay with drinking

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