Q&A: KPRC2 legal analyst expands on Harris County's response to hemp law
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – In response to new state law, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg says her office will no longer accept criminal charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession without lab results that confirm the level of THC in the marijuana.
THC is the ingredient that actually produces a high.
What's the cutoff?
The cutoff for misdemeanor marijuana possession is four ounces.
If the substance consists of .3% or more of THC, it's considered marijuana. Anything less is hemp, which was legalized last month.
Ogg's office says the decision largely comes down to expenses and time.
KPRC2's legal analyst weighs in
We spoke to KPRC legal analyst Brian Wice to get his take on the new policy. Here's what he had to say:
On current and past prosecutions:
"This law has thrown misdemeanor marijuana prosecutions into limbo."
What are the consequences of Ogg's decision?
"I certainly think that there's a perception that by essentially taking the misdemeanor marijuana laws off the book that the executive, the district attorney, has gotten outside her lane."
Does Wice agree with the decision?
"To me, it's not particularly wholesome or fair, or right, that you could wind up inside a cage because you had a couple of fatties on you."
What were the laws like before?
"I'm old enough to remember when possession of any usable quantity of marijuana in Texas could get you 99 years or life in the penitentiary. So, viewed through that prism, it's incredible that we're having this conversation tonight about whether or not the misdemeanor marijuana laws as we know them in Harris County have been essentially taken off the books."
What are area counties saying?
Below is a look at surrounding counties and what they're doing about the new law:
Copyright 2019 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.