MANCHACA, Texas -- When California rings in the new year with the sale
of recreational pot for the first time, Texas will be tiptoeing into
its own marijuana milestone: a medical cannabis program so restrictive
that doubts swirl over who will even use it.
Texas is the last big state to allow some form of medical marijuana,
albeit an oil extract so low in the psychoactive component, THC, that
it couldn't get a person high. Though it might seem that Texas
policymakers have softened their attitude toward the drug, bringing
them more in line with the U.S. population as a whole, they have not.
A joint could still land you in jail in Texas, and the state's embrace
of medical marijuana comes with a heavy dose of caution.
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Within weeks an estimated 150,000 Texas patients suffering from
untreatable epilepsy will have a new means of relief.
Cannabidiol (CBD), a form of medical marijuana, will finally be
delivered to patients who qualify under the state's very strict
guidelines. The CBD reduces or halts convulsive epileptic seizures but
doesn't get the patients stoned.
Right now, the treatment will be available only for certain epilepsy
patients, and it's highly controlled.
We believe availability should be expanded for treatment of other
conditions when there's evidence those patients can be helped. We urge
state lawmakers to begin work through the political and medical
hurdles now so they can make that happen when they meet in 13 months.
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In just a few weeks, medical marijuana will legally be sold in
The plants are nearly finished growing in South-Central Texas, which
means workers will soon harvest and cultivate them, drying them out
and preparing to extract low-level cannibidiol.
Once that medicine is in a liquid form, and packaged in drops, the
first sales of medical marijuana -- geared to help Texans with
intractable epilepsy -- will occur before the end of this year.
"It's very, very exciting," said Jose Hidalgo, chief executive officer
of Cansortium Holdings, the Florida-based parent company of Cansortium
Texas. "Nothing in life ever goes as planned.
[continues 501 words]
Any day now, medical marijuana will legally start to grow in the state
It will be planted, grown and processed on a 10-acre parcel of land in
Schulenburg, a small community east of San Antonio, now that the
company that owns the property -- Cansortium Texas -- has received the
state's first license to do so.
The low-level cannabidiol will be sold, under a 2015 law, to help
Texans with intractable epilepsy if federally approved medication
[continues 1020 words]
In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the first bill allowing any growing
or sale of marijuana in Texas. The Texas Compassionate Use Act
legalized the selling of a specific kind of cannabis oil derived from
marijuana plants for a very small group of customers: epilepsy
patients whose symptoms have not responded to federally approved medication.
Two years later, Texans still can't legally buy cannabis oil, but a
handful of companies believe they are weeks away from receiving the
official go-ahead to become the state's first sellers.
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A Texas girl whose family moved to Colorado to use medical marijuana
to treat her intractable epilepsy is among those suing Attorney
General Jeff Sessions over the federal cannabis prohibition.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the federal government should be
able to prosecute marijuana use and distribution in states that have
declared it legal.
An 11-year-old Texas cannabis "refugee" has joined a retired NFL
football player, an Iraq War veteran and two others in a lawsuit
challenging beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the federal
government's stance on medical marijuana.
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Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy has received a $3
million donation to endow a fellow in drug policy to provide objective
scientific research in the highly charged political arena of drug
addiction, university officials announced Wednesday.
Katharine Neill Harris, who currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship
in drug policy at the Baker Institute, will become the Alfred C.
Glassell III Fellow in Drug Policy.
The money to fund her new position comes from the Glassell Family
Foundation led by Houston philanthropist Alfred C. Glassell III.
[continues 299 words]
A 13-year-old girl found dead over the weekend in Texas was abducted
as ransom for stolen marijuana, according to authorities.
Police said Shavon Randle was kidnapped Wednesday from a Lancaster
home after the boyfriend of one of her relatives stole about 22 pounds
of pot, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Soon after she was abducted, suspects allegedly called a relative from
a private number and told them, "Give us our sh-t back or we are going
to kill her."
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With battering rams and flash-bang grenades, SWAT teams fuel the risk
of violence as they forcibly enter suspects' homes. Five months and 85
miles apart, two cases took starkly divergent legal paths.
SOMERVILLE, Tex. - Joshua Aaron Hall had been a resident of the
Burleson County Jail for about a week when he requested a meeting with
Gene Hermes, the sheriff's investigator who had locked him up for
violating probation. The stocky lawman arrived in the featureless
interview room on the morning of Dec. 13, 2013, placed his soda cup on
the table and apologized for not getting there sooner. He asked in his
gravelly drawl if they would be talking about Mr. Hall's own case.
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President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced
imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the
Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.
In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority
to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility
in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the
36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.
He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but
has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as
[continues 184 words]
A Pew Research Center survey of nearly 8,000 police officers finds that
more than two-thirds of them say that marijuana use should be legal for
either personal or medical use.
The nationally representative survey of law enforcement, one of the
largest of its kind, found that 32 percent of police officers said
marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while 37
percent said it should be legal for medical use only. Another 30 percent
said that marijuana should not be legal at all.
[continues 424 words]
An Arlington police officer is popular on social media Thursday because of
a video that shows he gave a teenager caught smoking marijuana in a movie
theater parking lot an unorthodox alternative to being arrested: pushups.
Officer Eric Ball was working off-duty Monday night at the theater in
Arlington when someone told him that a teenager was smoking marijuana
outside, WFAA-TV reported. Ball went outside to find the teen finishing a
cigarette and discarding it, and Ball smelled marijuana when he approached
[continues 175 words]
An unclassified document from the Drug Enforcement Agency shows the areas
of influence generated by Mexico's major criminal organizations.
The "intelligence report," dated July 2015, includes three maps that
show the various DEA offices around the country and the cartel-related
cases they deal with; potential markets that drug cartels will exploit
due to population density; and heroin deaths by state.
In Texas, the many offices appear to have their time spent dealing
with cases involving the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juarez, the Knights Templar,
Beltran-Levya, Jalisco and the Zetas.
[continues 119 words]
Texas traffickers hide in plain sight in Colorado with its lax pot laws
Tien Nguyen, 35, is charged in Smith County, Texas with money
laundering after allegedly being stopped with $71,900 in cash in a
rental car on Interstate 20. Handout
Tien Nguyen, 35, is charged in Smith County, Texas with money...
Three packages were mailed one after another, each shipped from the
same Colorado post office to the same Houston business in the name of
the same fictitious person.
[continues 1675 words]
Businessman Has N. Texas Town in Sights for Facility to Produce Oil
to Treat Epilepsy
GUNTER - A cotton gin that sat empty for decades in this small North
Texas town could be filled next year with the first cannabis plants
legally grown in the state. Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer Patrick
Moran, president and co-founder of the Texas Cannabis Industry
Association, aims to plant Texas' first legal cannabis plants in
Gunter. A statute enacted last year paves the way for cultivation of
non-psychoactive cannabis to produce CBD oil for treating people with
[continues 1340 words]
Regarding "Dangerous drugs" (Page A14, Thursday), the editorial takes
note of illogical marijuana laws in our state, while those laws
sidestep kush, which is actually a more dangerous substance. Four
states have already legalized the use of marijuana, and all is well.
Texas needs to move forward on this issue as well as the issue of
casino gambling. Other states are enjoying the freedoms related to
both of these issues, which should be individual choices.
We are stuck in an outdated mode, based on falsehoods and overly
conservative and religious mores. We need to focus our laws and
enforcement efforts on things that really matter.
G. Gratzer, Sargent
Legislators who want to expand the use of medical marijuana in Texas
- - as well as the green-seeking entrepreneurs who could benefit
financially from more state-approved, pot-derived treatments for what
ails Texans - might be able to lean on a new study to bolster their
argument when the Legislature convenes in January.
State senators and Texas House members undoubtedly will be looking
for ways to save money next session, especially since the price of
oil has dropped into an abyss, taking with it much of the state's
oil-based tax revenue. They'll cut programs. They always do. But they
also will search for savings.
[continues 415 words]
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will pay $475,000 to a New Mexico
woman who accused agents in Texas of forcing her to undergo illegal
The woman was at an El Paso port of entry when a drug-sniffing dog
jumped on her, according to court filings.
The American Civil Liberties Union in Texas and New Mexico announced
the settlement Thursday. Customs and Border Protection officers will
also be required to undergo additional training.
A lawsuit filed in 2013 said the woman - a 54-year-old U.S. citizen
referred to only as Jane Doe - was "brutally" searched by customs
agents in December 2012.
[continues 72 words]
Messages of peace and love are briefly comforting after tragedies
like those our country and city have recently experienced. But
society needs to face harsh realities, beginning with stemming drug use.
Through people I know well, I've seen marijuana become a gateway drug
for some and a substance that can change personalities over many
years. Legalizing recreational marijuana usage is absurd since most
ingest it for one reason: to alter mood/ thoughts. That doesn't put
anyone in a good mind-set to interact with law officers, ever.
[continues 105 words]
Group Hosting 'Lake and Bake' Event Questions Need to Close the Entire Park
The shutting down of an event hosted by marijuana legalization
advocates Sunday at Lake Grapevine had nothing to do with the group's
beliefs, Grapevine city officials said.
The third annual Lake and Bake was shut down because DFW NORML didn't
acquire a special events permit needed to host a gathering of that
size, Grapevine Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Mitchell said.
"Who they are had no bearing on why the event was closed off. They
could be pushing beef jerky for all I know," Mitchell said. "It has
nothing to do with who they are or what they represent. None of that
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Mark Davis: Those Pushing for This Don't Know What It Does to Neighborhoods
Looks like this is my year for congratulating the Dallas City
Council, although I do not pretend that the horseshoe is bending
toward my worldview.
First they found a way to reject the absurdity that there was a First
Amendment obligation to host a porn convention on city property. Now,
at least for the moment, they are resisting widespread urgings to
loosen marijuana laws.
As some state-level experiments plod forward with outright pot
legalization, the Dallas issue involved ratcheting pot-possession
penalties down from a jailable offense to a mere ticket.
[continues 581 words]
Within GOP, Sentiment Appears to Be Growing to Allow More Remedies.
Is Texas ready to embrace expanding medical treatments from marijuana?
Some state elected officials - along with some eager entrepreneurs -
would like to see more allowable uses of the controversial plant when
the 2017 legislative session comes around.
Last session, many Capitol observers were stunned when both chambers
passedSenate Bill 339 and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law. The
law - which was authored by now-departing state Sen. Kevin Eltife,
R-Tyler, and sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth -
allows patients who suffer from a rare form of epilepsy to be treated
legally with cannabidiol, or CBD as it is better known.
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High Court: Civil-Asset Forfeiture Is Not Subject to Criminal Court Rules.
Law enforcement can seize private property that was used in the
commission of a crime, even if evidence of wrongdoing was illegally
obtained by police, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Because the process of seizing property takes place in civil court,
property owners aren't protected by criminal court rules that call
for evidence to be tossed out if it was obtained in an
unconstitutional search or seizure, the unanimous court ruling said.
[continues 416 words]
Ceo Expects Texas to Be Major Center for a Strain of Cannabis That
Can Ease Epilepsy Without Getting Patients High
About 60 miles north of Dallas, amid green fields in the town of
Gunter, population 1,486, Texas Cannabis CEO Patrick Moran has
optioned to buy a former cotton gin, where he plans to grow the
Cannabis sativa plant, known more commonly as marijuana.
The businessman and attorney is positioning himself at the forefront
of what he estimates will be a $900 million a year industry in Texas
- - the recently legalized market for treating intractable epilepsy
with a strain of marijuana that eases seizures without getting patients high.
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Last week, the House of Representatives approved what The New York
Times described as "a mountain of bills addressing the nation's
opioid abuse crisis." The 18 bills passed "by huge bipartisan margins."
A flurry of legislative activity like this usually materializes when
the drug problem it targets is already receding. That seems to be the
case with the so-called opioid epidemic, notwithstanding the fresh
attention attracted by the recent death of Prince, which may have
involved prescription painkillers.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH),
nonmedical use of opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and hydrocodone
peaked in 2012 and has since dropped below the rate in 2002. Although
the recent decline in prescription painkiller use was accompanied by
an increase in heroin use, total opioid use was still lower in 2014
than in 2012.
[continues 541 words]
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently restored the right to vote for
206,000 citizens in his state, many of whom had completed their
sentences decades ago. One of them, Terry Garrett, had struggled with
homelessness and drug addiction, receiving multiple felony
convictions, before turning her life around. She's now sober, a
grandmother, and helps people facing addiction. Told that she could
now vote, she said, "Finally, someone sees past what we did."
As the 2016 presidential race heats up, it's clear that the outcome
will affect the course of the nation for some time to come. Yet
nearly 6 million Americans will not be at the polls this November.
It's not that they don't care about the outcome of the election, but
rather, they're prohibited from voting due to a current or previous
[continues 640 words]
Forty-one states have legislation that permits medical marijuana in
some form. However, the law in Texas is not considered functional
because it requires a physician to prescribe marijuana. Since
marijuana is illegal under federal law, doctors can't prescribe it.
They can only recommend it to patients.
Louisiana's law had the same flaw, but the state's House of
Representatives just voted on new legislation that should correct this problem.
In April, Pennsylvania became the latest state to pass medical
marijuana legislation, which will take effect this month. And
recently, Ohio's House of Representatives passed a plan to permit
medical marijuana in the state.
[continues 1101 words]
Some 100 people marched in San Antonio's second annual "marijuana
march" to build support for grass-roots efforts to ease Texas
marijuana laws and decriminalize pot use.
The event was hosted by the local chapter of the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Jesus Ramirez marched with a sign emblazoned with a cannabis plant
and the words "Don't Fight. Make It Right. Legalize."
"I'm here because I think we need more compassion for people who are
suffering," said Ramirez, 44, a former glazier who also uses cannabis
to reduce pain from a neck injury that forced him to retire five
years ago. "Marijuana helps people cope. Why would anyone be against that?"
[continues 161 words]
Re: =93Texas tops in use of civil asset forfeiture
=AD And it's likely to get worse, Audrey Redford says,=94 Monday
Thanks to Redford for her excellent column and to
The News for continuing to call attention to the
most corrupting influence in law enforcement =AD civil asset forfeiture.
The injustice of police taking property without
due process has not gone unnoticed.
Right on Crime, a project of the Texas Public
Policy Foundation, the American Conservative
Union Foundation and the Prison Fellowship, has
given a series of seminars on the subject. It
says civil forfeiture endangers individual rights
and the integrity of law enforcement.
[continues 108 words]
In just over a decade, Texas law enforcement collected more than half a
billion dollars, $540.7 million, in cash and personal property from
Texans suspected of breaking the law. Known as civil asset forfeiture,
this legal practice leaves average Texans vulnerable to having their
assets seized by police, no trial or proof of guilt necessary.
Texas is among the worst states in the nation for civil asset forfeiture
abuse. The Institute for Justice's "Policing for Profit" report gave
Texas a D+ and said the state leads the nation in average annual
forfeiture proceeds, at roughly $41.6 million.
[continues 503 words]
As we prepare to vote for the next president of the United States, it
is important for voters to carefully consider the character of the
candidates. Why? Because although a presidential term only lasts for
four years, a president's policies and legacy can cause devastation
Case in point: President Richard Nixon and the "War on Drugs."
Nixon's drug policies that began in the 1970s seeped into our
nation's education policy 20 years later; today it funnels hundreds
of thousands of youths from schools into prison.
[continues 615 words]
Kingpin's Plea With U.S. Triggered Years of Bloodshed Reaching All
the Way to Southlake Zetas Saw Gulf Cartel Leader As Traitor,
Declared a War That Has Killed Thousands of People
A plea agreement between a Mexican drug kingpin and the U.S.
government helped generate a violent split between two drug cartels
that led to the deaths of thousands of people in Mexico and along the
Texas border, a Dallas Morning News investigation has found.
A masked gunman fired multiple times at Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa
with a 9 mm handgun through the passenger window of his Range Rover
at Southlake Town Square in May 2013. Three Mexican citizens were
arrested more than a year later and charged with stalking, and aiding
and abetting in the hit.
[continues 4074 words]
War on Drugs, for Example, Was an Assault on Black People, Robyn Short Says
Whoever said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will
never hurt me" must have been on the receiving end of a very
kind-speaking stick thrower. Words matter. Too often in American
politics, words are used as weapons that can cause social damage that
takes far longer to repair than any broken bone.
Democrats and Republicans both use language to dehumanize, vilify and
separate the people of this nation. By doing so, they indirectly
foster a culture that permits harmful actions against "the other,"
and even deems such action morally correct.
[continues 660 words]
If the Dallas City Council is unhappy with the recent crime spike,
perhaps voting for the cite-and-release marijuana policy that failed
last week could help keep officers on the streets working on
eliminating violent crime.
In 2014, 700,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana law violations
and 620,000 of those violations were possession. Why are we putting
resources to arrest individuals for a crime that is nonviolent?
Dallas City Council had its chance to be proactive toward reducing
violent crime by reducing the penalties for a nonviolent one. Now the
council members who voted "nay" on the cite-and-release policy would
rather blame Dallas Police Chief David Brown for an issue they could
have helped solve.
Re: "Straight talk about heroin - We've got the epidemic all wrong,
Maia Szalavitz says," March 20 Points.
All of the dangerous myths about heroin that Szalavitz points out are
important. The drug war is built on lies and misconceptions. It is
most important to discredit the myth that "Tough love is the only
thing that works. Programs that distribute clean needles and
overdose-reversal drugs prolong addiction."
Addition is most often an adaption to overwhelming trauma. The
majority of injection drug users were abused as children. This can
cause lifelong self-hatred. Even the man who started drug
prohibition, Harry Anslinger, admitted it: Addicts often "grow up in
homes that are not homes, with parents that are not parents, [so]
they seek escape. Girl or boy, this is a familiar pattern."
[continues 55 words]
The Dallas City Council made a mistake in snuffing out Dallas
County's cite-and-release pilot plan to ticket low-level marijuana
possession offenders rather than haul them off to jail. As Police
Chief David Brown once conceded - although he ultimately opposed the
plan - the idea was "just so damn practical." It would reduce
crowding in the Dallas County Jail and allow police to focus on more
serious crimes, such as burglaries and assaults, and address concerns
such as downtown panhandling. But council members waded into the
weeds and failed to navigate issues of collaboration with neighboring
jurisdictions and whether to give officers discretion to arrest some
offenders. It's disappointing that they lacked creativity or the will
to work through these questions.
We hope they' ll try again.
Misdemeanor marijuana possession will still mean jail time in Dallas.
Misdemeanor marijuana possession will still mean jail time in Dallas
after City Council members spurned a much-discussed plan to instead
issue citations to those caught with small amounts of pot.
Council members on Wednesday got into the weeds of the proposed
Dallas County pilot program and possible discrimination concerns
before they rejected the so-called cite-and-release plan. Opposition
from council member Sandy Greyson and Police Chief David Brown prevailed.
[continues 541 words]
Grapevine Police Join Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative
Nonprofit Organization Works With Local Police and Opioid Addicts
Treatment Centers Are Better Than Jail
We all learned about the effects of illegal drugs in health class,
from TV and parents.
We've watched fictional drug addicts on anything from Orange is the
New Black to Elementary.
We all know that drugs are bad, and drug dealers are even worse. We
want both off the streets and away from kids.
In those worst-case scenarios, a teenager becomes addicted to drugs.
He or she gets arrested for drug possession and then has a criminal record.
[continues 286 words]
We've Got the Epidemic All Wrong, Maia Szalavitz Says
America's epidemic of heroin and prescription pain reliever addiction
has become a major issue in the 2016 elections. It's worse than ever:
Deaths from overdoses of opioids - the drug category that includes
heroin and prescription analgesics such as Vicodin - reached a high
in 2014, rising 14 percent in a single year.
But because drug policy has long been a political and cultural
football, myths about opioid addiction abound. Here are some of the
most dangerous myths, and how they do harm.
[continues 1535 words]
City's Police Joining Efforts to Treat Addicts Instead of Jailing Them
GRAPEVINE - Imagine a drug user walking into a police station and
handing over his drugs and paraphernalia. But instead of police
putting the addict behind bars, the would-be criminal is taken to a
treatment facility to get help - without any charges being filed.
That's the essence of a new nationwide initiative coming soon to at
least one North Texas police department.
Grapevine officials, stung by some drug-related deaths in recent
years, said Wednesday that they will soon begin participating in the
Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, or PAARI. The
program takes a more compassionate approach toward drug users by
treating addiction as a disease rather than simply a crime.
[continues 824 words]
Legalization's Coming, They Say, and So Are the Potential Opportunities
FORT WORTH - There was a day when you'd have been considered under
the influence to think that Texas might ever legalize marijuana.
Lawrence Jenkins/Special Contributor "the 'Green rush' is going to
happen," said San Antonio lawyer Daniel Mehler, who stood out in a
pot-leaf-patterned suit at the cannabis expo in Fort Worth.
But this weekend, an event dedicated to that very notion drifted into
the Fort Worth Convention Center.
[continues 419 words]
GLOUCESTER, Mass. - Leonard Campanello leans forward. "There's no
incentive or coercion that will stop an addict," he says. "This is
the only long-term illness on the planet where if the disease
presents itself, they kick you out" of treatment.
I met Campanello at the Sugar Magnolias breakfast place on Main
Street in downtown Gloucester, where he told me about his amazing
offer to drug addicts. It's an offer that will change drug treatment
in America, reduce crime, decrease drug-related deaths, drop
incarceration and destigmatize substance abuse while restoring the
community role of the police. It will save lives and money at the
same time. This is a sea change. Before you get the wrong idea, let
me assure you that Campanello, the chief of police in this city of
28,000, isn't a reformer. He doesn't look like a reformer. He's a
cop, a fact-and-evidence guy. He speaks without hyperbole in a
boots-on-the-ground Boston accent. You can't listen to him without
having a sense that he is absolutely right. So what was that amazing
offer? Last year, on March 5, after a string of fatal overdoses in
Gloucester, Campanello made this declaration on the department's Facebook page:
[continues 526 words]
We anticipate an interesting discussion Tuesday when the City Council
considers whether police should be allowed or encouraged to "cite and
release" folks whose only apparent offense is possession of a
misdemeanor amount of marijuana.
Our opinion: It's high time!
Sorry, we couldn't let that one pass. But don't confuse our partaking
of the low-hanging fruit as a case of the munchies. It's a clear-eyed
Somebody besides the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws (NORML) needs to say it: The police have more
important things to do, the jail is an expensive, finite resource,
and the worst, most dangerous thing about possessing a small amount
of marijuana for personal use is its illegality.
[continues 445 words]
Citing and releasing those caught with small amounts is a good idea,
William R. Kelly writes
As someone who studies the effectiveness of criminal justice
policies, I rarely can applaud a specific policy in Texas. But I
could do just that for a new pilot program taking shape in Dallas.
The Dallas City Council is considering a program of ticketing rather
than arresting individuals caught in possession of 4 ounces or less
of marijuana. The procedure, known as cite and release, involves the
police issuing a ticket to the offender, much like the procedure used
for traffic violations. The ticket is a promise to appear in court on
a particular date and time.
[continues 580 words]