Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Laws

Houston’s District Attorney Defends Move to Decriminalize Marijuana

Photo by Getty Images

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushes his tough-on-weed agenda, one Texas District Attorney is sticking to her decision to decriminalize small amounts of pot.

Kim Ogg, Houston’s first Democratic DA in nearly four decades, lost no time in declaring that she was not interested in locking up people for small amounts of pot.

While federal criminal justice reform has lagged on a national level for years, many local, recently elected officials are stepping up to the plate.

Kim Ogg is one of them.

In a politically conservative state like Texas, Ogg is in a constant showdown with Republican, mostly male, leaders who don’t like what she stands for nor where she stands for it: Houston, the lone state’s largest city.

“We represent a clear and present danger to the Republican power structure that’s basically ruled Texas for 30 years,” Ogg said earlier this month, according to the Guardian. “We effected a Democratic sweep in an otherwise deep red state and we were a national anomaly and I’m really proud of our work.”

Ogg referred to her pot decriminalization reform—not arresting people caught with less than four ounces of weed—as logical.

“The math is ridiculous,” she said of weed prosecutions, which cost more than $25 million a year to prosecute 10,000 people for low-level offenses.

“The return in terms of public safety has been nothing, nil,” she continued. “We are not a safer society or a greater Houston urban area because marijuana was aggressively prosecuted.”

Ogg also wants new bail procedures for minor offenses, so they can be released from jail, on personal bond, while they await trial.

As many as 75 percent of people in Houston’s county jail have not been convicted of a crime. Some take days to get bond while many others sit behind bars for years waiting to go to trial.

Ogg’s cash bail system foresees allowing non-violent defendants of limited means to plead guilty to get out of jail.

“Holding low-level offenders who can’t bond out because they’re too poor is against the basic principles of fairness,” Ogg said.

Sounds logical but what seems to severely annoy certain Texas Republicans and corporate big wigs is this statement of Ogg’s:

“I want poor people out of the jail if they don’t pose a safety threat to the rest of the community, and I don’t want rich criminals to be able to buy their way out simply because they have the money regardless of their threat level.”

In the past two months, there has been a flurry of bills, more than a dozen, now pending in the Texas Legislature this session. They are aimed at lifting prohibitions on Texans who choose to use marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.

Texas lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, conservative talk show host and champion of the “bathroom bill” in Texas, lashed out at Ogg’s decriminalization policy, implying that Houston was becoming the equivalent of a “sanctuary city” for pot.

Ogg was unfazed by the comments: “All I’ve done is divert 10,000 offenders a year around jail and a criminal record through a lawful process through pre-charge diversion.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

HT Newsletter

Subscribe for exclusive access to deals, free giveaways and more!

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Advertisement

You May Also Like

News

Amidst confusion over hemp laws in Texas, this new development was just announced.

News

The bill dictates that simple possession would only carry civil penalties.

News

GOP State Senator Michael Young derided the choice not to prosecute simple possession cases in Marion County.

News

The chief of police says the force will not abide by the resolution passed by the city council.

News

If approved, it would echo a move away from cannabis prosecution taking place state-wide.

News

It's a step in the right direction for criminal justice reform.

News

State officials are working to develop more cost-effective testing procedures to distinguish marijuana from hemp.

News

Senator Karen Tallian is trying to move Indiana forward.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!