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Ogg's relaxed marijuana policy takes effect

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HOUSTON – The relaxed policy by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg regarding people who are caught with marijuana took effect Wednesday.

According to officials, the policy calls for those who are caught with a misdemeanor amount of marijuana to qualify for a diversion program aimed at keeping them out of jail. The program gives the offender the chance to take a cognitive thinking course, which costs $150, within 90 days. There will also be no criminal record.

If a person is found in possession of four ounces or less of marijuana, the officer making the arrest will contact the DA’s office, which will determine if the offender qualifies for the program.

People who qualify for the program and successfully complete it will face no criminal charges. If not, a formal criminal charge will be filed and an arrest warrant issued.

According to the DA’s office, a person is eligible to participate in the program if the person:

  • Is an adult, age 17 or older
  • Is detained or arrested for possession of marijuana (Class A & B)
  • Possesses sufficient identifying information at the time of detention or arrest according to the intervening law enforcement agency’s policy
  • Has no additional criminal charges arising out of the instant detention other than Class C misdemeanor tickets
  • Has no outstanding warrants
  • Is not on bond, deferred adjudication or probation in Harris County or another jurisdiction for any offense other than a Class C offense.

Officials said people are ineligible for the program if the person:

  • Is on bond, deferred adjudication or probation in Harris County or another jurisdiction for any offense other than a Class C offense
  • Possesses marijuana and sufficient, credible evidence exists which shows them to be a marijuana dealer
  • Is in possession of a concealed handgun and marijuana; in such instances, the Offender will be charged with Unlawfully Carrying A Weapon only; the marijuana will be tagged as evidence
  • Possesses a misdemeanor amount of marijuana in a “drug free zone”
  • Possesses a misdemeanor amount of marijuana in a corrections facility
  • Is currently in the MMDP Program 90-day program period, prior to completion of the program.

Some have criticized the program. Brett Ligon, district attorney in neighboring Montgomery County, said no one has the right to disregard the laws of Texas. He said the plan will make Harris County a sanctuary for dope smokers.

For more information about the program, click or tap here.


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