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Politics

Harris County District Attorney Defends New Marijuana Policy

Starting in March there will be a major shift in the way Harris County handles low-level marijuana cases. The district attorney says too much money is being spent to go after the wrong offenders.

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Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg discussed the new marijuana policy on Houston Matters.
Gail Delaughter
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg discussed the new marijuana policy on Houston Matters.

District Attorney Kim Ogg says Harris County is spending $26 million a year on misdemeanor marijuana cases and it's not making things any safer.

"We know that our constituents want public safety to be our number one concern," says Ogg. "And they just don't believe that people in possession of small amounts of marijuana are their biggest public safety concern. They're worried about burglars and rape."

Appearing on Houston Matters, Ogg explained a new policy directed at people caught with less than four ounces. The offense won't show up on their record if they agree to take a four-hour drug education class.

Ogg also answered critics who say the D.A.'s office isn't following the law.

"Pre-charge diversion is a lawful exercise of our discretion as district attorneys," adds Ogg. "And those decisions are made every single day in prosecutors' offices all over this state and the United States."

Polls in Texas and nationwide have shown support for the full legalization of marijuana.