Dallas police adopts ‘cite and release’ policy for less than 4 oz. marijuana

FILE - In this June 25, 2014 file photo, a ladybug crawls on a marijuana plant. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas police this fall will start issuing misdemeanor citations and releasing some people found with less than 4 ounces (about 113 grams) of marijuana.

The Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved the plan, effective Oct. 1. The measure, known as cite and release, applies to people with less than 4 ounces of marijuana who are not alleged to have committed other crimes.

The Dallas Police Association questioned the measure.

Supporters say jailing people over small amounts of marijuana wastes police time and taxpayer funds.

Harris County prosecutors in February announced people caught with 4 ounces or less of marijuana won’t be arrested if they agree to attend a four-hour decision-making class. The charge is dropped if the person pays for and completes the $150 course. Fees are waived for indigents.

According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2015, there were more than 60,000 arrests for marijuana possession in Texas, which made up more than 13 percent of all arrests in the state that year. It’s estimated those arrests and the subsequent prosecution cost taxpayers $1.5 billion.

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