Marijuana policy in Houston is quickly evolving under a newly-minted district attorney with an eye towards keeping small-time offenders out of jails and free of a burdensome criminal record.
On Thursday, District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the new policy with Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
The policy, set to begin March 1, means that misdemeanor offenders with less than four ounces of marijuana will not be arrested, ticketed or required to appear in court if they agree to take a four-hour drug education class, officials said.
While Houston city officials have expressed agreement with Ogg’s new policy, one prominent state bigwig is not on the bus.
Through a spokesman, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blasted Ogg’s proposal as akin to Houston becoming a sanctuary city on low-level drug crimes.
“The lieutenant governor has said repeatedly regarding sanctuary cities that he does not believe that law enforcement has the discretion to choose what laws to enforce and what laws to ignore,” said Patrick press secretary Alejandro Garcia. “That is his position regarding DA Ogg’s proposal.”