The Dallas Police Department intends to lax its punitive measures against marijuana possession for personal use.
Dallas Police Chief, Eddie Garcia, has decided that previous local policies on personal marijuana possession are cashed. In a recent memo, Garcia announced that he has ordered DPD to stop making arrests on people in possession of small amounts of marijuana. [Featured image: @canvastsupplyco]
Two years after Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot stated that he would stop prosecuting cases involving minimal marijuana possession, the Dallas Police Department is finally changing their policy.
“These procedural changes are being made to lessen the impact of arresting individuals for low-level amounts of marijuana,” Garcia wrote in a memo submitted to the City Council this past Friday.
Dallas officers will now only charge those in possession of over two ounces of marijuana with the intent to sell or distribute – i.e. discover evidence of distribution paraphernalia such as individual baggies or witness a sale taking place. Officers will ticket (and issue a court date to) those in possession between two and four ounces, but won’t make an arrest unless that person is involved in a crime or in possession of a firearm.
Garcia previously stated that one policy goal was to focus more on combatting violent crimes, rather than focusing on less serious issues such as marijuana possession. Additionally, Garcia cited a recent analysis revealing the racial disproportion of arrests, in which the three-year study by the Office of Community Police Oversight discovered that black and Latinx people accounted for 91 percent of marijuana arrests. White people accounted for only nine percent of arrests of the same offenses.
“I am pleased to see the updated marijuana arrest policy under Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia. It is the appropriate decision to reduce the racial disparity in arrests of people for low-level marijuana possession charges,” said Creuzot in a statement. “This policy allows officers to focus on violent crimes and reducing police response times, which are both issues of high concern to Dallas residents.”
“I promised to be more data-oriented in my decisions as Dallas County Criminal District Attorney and pledged to help inform others on what the data show,” Creuzot’s statement read. “I have presented the data this office has collected on low-level marijuana arrests to the Dallas City Council and the Community Police Oversight Board. This change to marijuana arrest procedure is a prime example of data impacting public policy.”