It’s a complicated issue that everyone seems to have an opinion on: Decriminalizing marijuana. And one Fort Worth city leader is pushing for more to be done, claiming that too many nonviolent offenders are crowding jails.
“We can’t fix state law, can’t fix our jail system here at the local level,” says City Council Member Chris Nettles. “But these individuals are sitting in jail for six months, sometimes to a year because they can’t afford an attorney.”
Tarrant County actually adopted a policy a while back to cite people for certain low-level crimes instead of arresting them. That includes people who possess a “small amount” of marijuana between two and four ounces.
Nettles is on a mission to change what the city classifies as a “small amount” of the drug.
“What is the issue with moving it from two to four ounces?” He asked at a city council work session yesterday. “Four ounces is not a lot, it’s not something that’s normally sold.”
Five Texas cities, including Denton, recently passed ordinances to decriminalize low level marijuana possession. But some are having issues enforcing the new rules. Voters say it feels like nothing changed and they’re still ending up behind bars. Meanwhile, city officials say their hands are tied because of state laws.
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker says enforcement issues like these are something she’d like to avoid. She says the cite-and-release policy is fairly new and the reason so many people are still being arrested for low-level pot possession could be a communication matter.
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