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The stars at night, get high as a kite … deep in the heart of Texas!

texas.jpgInteresting story about the Texas legislature’s attempt to lower the number of marijuana arrests, and the fact that outside of Austin, most cops are ignoring it:

Texas lawmakers thought they could help ease jail overcrowding when they passed legislation allowing police to write tickets for misdemeanor marijuana possession and a few other nonviolent crimes, instead of hauling suspects to the clink.
But the new law, which went into effect Sept. 1, is being used only in Travis County. Prosecutors in Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties never set up a system to process the misdemeanor citations and, they say, they have no plans to do so.
“I think the Legislature was very sensitive to the fact that there are so many jails that are overcrowded,” said Terri Moore, Dallas County’s first assistant district attorney. “This was a great idea, but it raises a lot more questions that we are not ready to answer.”
The new law gives officers the option to arrest, as they have been doing, or write tickets for possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana.
Some supporters of the law say these nonviolent offenders could be treated the same as drivers who get caught speeding and agree to go before a judge.
But critics say these class A and B misdemeanors, although not violent crimes, could still result in jail time and require investigators to build a solid case for prosecution. As a result, the burden of making sure that suspects make it to court and no one is misidentified is higher.
For Greg Davis, Collin County’s first assistant district attorney, one of his qualms with the new law is the perception created by ticketing for a drug offense, instead of making an arrest.
“It may… lead some people to believe that drug use is no more serious than double parking,” Mr. Davis said. “We don’t want to send that message to potential drug users, particularly young people.”

You can read the rest of the article over at the Dallas Morning News, but my favorite bit is this little blurb from the end:

With the high price of gasoline, Mr. Wade said, writing citations also saves money because officers don’t have to drive into Austin from the county’s outskirts to put a suspect in jail.

Well hell - just imagine how great it would be for gas usage and the environment if marijuana were flat-out legalized?

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Huh. 4 ounces is a relatively large amount of pot. With few exceptions (like, um, Snoop Dog or something), people with that much pot on them are dealing. I wonder how much you need to have to be charged with intent to sell.