Houston DA Election Shows Power of Local Races

By Noah M. Horwitz, The Daily Texan

On Thursday, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg usurped Austin in making Houston the most pot-friendly city in Texas. Perhaps Willie Nelson will move.

Under the policy introduced by Ogg in conjunction with Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, individuals apprehended with four ounces of marijuana or less will not be arrested, or even given a citation directing them to appear in court.

Instead, in lieu of a Class B or Class A misdemeanor, these individuals will be able to take a short educational course on drugs and avoid any criminal prosecution. (Repeat offenders of small amounts of pot will be able to take the class and avoid prosecution over and over again.)

Ogg had campaigned on reform of marijuana laws. However, the condemnation from some Republicans, namely Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, was swift. Still, the Texas Legislature gives prosecutors wide authority and discretion on what cases they choose to bring. Ogg is certainly within her rights.

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