For residents of Texas, there have been some changes made to marijuana and cannabis possession law. In December 2017, the city of Dallas began implementing a program approved earlier in the year by the City Council that would create a "cite-and-release" system for marijuana possession. The change to the law does not legalize marijuana or even decriminalize cannabis possession, and it doesn't impact government behavior outside the city of Dallas. This means that public purchase and consumption could still lead to arrest or other consequences, but the program can help to avoid jail time.
A trooper that pulled a vehicle over on Nov. 1 in Texas for a minor traffic violation discovered 272 pounds of marijuana, according to media reports. The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that the 33-year-old Bishop man that was behind the wheel of the vehicle and his 35-year-old female passenger were both taken into custody on drug possession charges and transported to a detention facility in Hidalgo County following the discovery.
Six Texas residents have been taken into custody on suspicion of running a marijuana grow house operation. The arrests occurred in Fort Bend and Harris counties.
Efforts to decriminalize recreational marijuana use have failed to gain much traction in Texas at the state level, but some localities are taking steps of their own to reduce the burden on the courts and allow law enforcement to concentrate on more serious crimes. Starting on Dec. 1, police in Dallas will be implementing a cite and release policy that changes the way that individuals found to be in possession of less than four ounces of the drug are treated. Instead of being arrested and taken to jail, they will be issued a citation and released pending a court date.
Each year, many Texans are arrested for possessing drugs. While the Department of Justice has announced a renewed focus on drug crimes, arrests had not fallen off before the current administration. One consistent theme with drug possession arrests is that they do not help to curb drug abuse and actually cause more social problems.
On Sept. 22, it was reported that a Texas pilot who pleaded guilty to drug charges was sentenced to three years in federal prison. The Department of Justice said that the Austin pilot was caught transporting at least 200 pounds of marijuana from Oregon to Texas.
On Sept. 8, a Texas man was taken into custody after he was accused of transporting cocaine between Austin and Houston. Authorities had reportedly known about the 38-year-old man and had been receiving information about his role in a potential drug trafficking organization for some time.
On Aug. 28, a Texas judge sentenced two people on charges associated with a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Four others who had been accused of having roles in the conspiracy were sentenced earlier in August after pleading guilty in April.
The president's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appears not to be ready to crack down on marijuana in an effort to reduce violent crime. Although its recommendations have not been made public, the Associated Press associated portions of them. The group has instead urged caution on making big changes to federal marijuana policy, especially when it comes to challenging states' rights to decriminalize the drug.
The presidential Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is meant to focus on the prevention and reduction of violent crime. To accomplish that, however, it appears it may be reconsidering federal marijuana policy, even as it stands in regards to states' rights.