When it comes to cannabis, Texas is one of the unfriendliest states in America. Recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, CBD (the non-psychoactive cannabis extract) and even hemp are all still prohibited in the Lone Star State. But the largest city in Texas is moving in the direction of decriminalization.
Marijuana will remain illegal in Houston, but the city's top law enforcers want to enforce the law differently. Last week, Kim Ogg - the newly elected District Attorney of Houston's New Harris County - vowed to uphold her campaign promise to reform marijuana laws. She is urging police officers to focus on violent criminals instead of busting people for misdemeanor marijuana crimes like simple possession.
“I’ve never felt good about putting marijuana users in the same jail cells as murderers," Ogg said after being sworn into office last Monday. "It’s just not fair, it doesn’t make any sense, and our country is resoundingly against that.”
So she vows to ensure that “all misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail.”
Ogg isn't the only local law enforcer who feels that way. New Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez also supports reducing punishments for non-violent cannabis offenders. Instead, he wants to focus on busting violent drug traffickers as well as dealers targeting Houston's youth.
“For those that are involved in the violence of the drug trade, that’s who I want to focus on,” Sheriff Gonzalez said during a local radio interview last Friday. “I want to focus on the people that are the big movers and shakers that are poisoning young people.”
He was joined in the interview by Art Acevedo - Houston's new Police Chief, who added that steps toward decriminalization could open the door to legalizing medical marijuana in Texas.
“I think you’ll have a really spirited but well-informed discussion, and at some point I could really foresee, in the future, marijuana and some other oils being legalized for medicinal purposes," Chief Acevedo said. "It will probably be the first step in Texas.”
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by area as well as population. So getting it onboard with legalization would be a huge gain for the legalization movement in America. And fictional resident Wooderson would also approve.
Keep L-I-V-I-N, Houston.