Don’t Book ’em, Danno: DPS Backs Off on Pot Busts

August 9, 2019
Austin Chronicle

Texas marijuana users who are caught with under a quarter pound of cannabis are now less likely to have handcuffs slapped on their wrists. Leaders at the Texas Depart­ment of Public Safety have directed its officers to issue citations for misdemeanor pot charges instead of making arrests.

The directive to cite and release came via a July 10 internal DPS memo recently obtained by The Texas Tribune. The missive, addressed from Deputy Director Randall Prince to "All Commissioned Personnel," reiterated the department's commitment to marijuana prohibition in the wake of hemp legalization laws that have made weed cases difficult to prosecute. "Departmental personnel are expected to continue enforcing marijuana related offenses," the memo read. "However, effective immediately, personnel will cite and release for any misdemeanor amount of marijuana, as authorized by Article 14.06 of the Texas Code of Criminal Pro­ced­ure. A citation in these circumstances is only authorized when the suspect resides in the county where the offense occurred." Depending on that county prosecutor's current stance on cannabis, the suspect may still have to face charges in court.