BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas – A recent report in the Austin American Statesman suggests the largest counties in Texas are increasingly dismissing misdemeanor marijuana cases.
However, when it comes to Brazos County, that isn’t the case.
“It’s still illegal and our job is to enforce the law that the legislators make, not to legislate and not make up new laws,” said Rod Anderson, the county attorney for Brazos County.
Anderson’s says his office handles roughly a thousand marijuana cases each year. If you’re caught with the drug, you can face fines and even jail time.
As far as dismissals, the Texas Office of Court Administration says from 2011 to August of 2016, there were 4,889 new cases filed for marijuana possession and 587 dismissals.
But Anderson says the amount of cases dismissed stays roughly the same each year. Dismissals or reductions aren’t necessarily the norm because it depends on several factors.
“We’re looking at the individual’s criminal history,” said Anderson. Have they been in trouble for other things before? So this is just one more offense that they’ve committed?”
Anderson says public safety is the key reason behind prosecuting marijuana cases and he hopes it cuts down on the drug trade and other criminal activity.
Others also chimed in.
“It’s a cure, it’s a medicine, it’s a plant, there’s nothing wrong with it,” said Jesse Ocana.
Another man, who didn’t want to be identified, says resources should be used elsewhere.
“As far as our justice system, if we’re going to arrest people for selling or smoking or doing anything with marijuana, what are we doing with the people that are doing the real crimes?”
Anderson says deferred adjudication and probation are sometimes alternatives for those caught with marijuana.
As for chances of the county seeing more dismissals, he says that’s not likely unless changes are made by legislators.
Originally posted by: http://www.kagstv.com/news/local/despite-trend-in-other-counties-marijuana-dismissals-are-not-increasing-in-brazos-county/314794712