Data from recent years shows that the most populated counties in Texas have dismissed more and more marijuana offenses when the offender possessed small amounts of cannabis.
A study of government data compiled by the Austin American Statesman shows Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties have regularly dismissed more marijuana offenses since 2011.
Just five years ago, 18 percent of cases were dropped in Dallas County, yet last year 41 percent were dropped. The trend appears to be occurring statewide.
But that trend doesn’t necessarily reflect an easing of enforcement measures; the number of new misdemeanor marijuana cases filed statewide has stayed largely the same.
Travis County authorities say they have decided to prioritize the prosecution of more serious crimes instead of devoting valuable resources to prosecute cases of marijuana possession.
“Jurors would look at us like we are crazy,” Travis County prosecutor Dan Hamre told the Statesman. “‘You are spending your time, our time and the courts time on a small amount of personal marijuana?’”