This year, Texas lawmakers have proposed seven bills that would have lowered penalties for minor marijuana possessions, hopefully reducing the amount of non-violent offenders in jails and courts. Unfortunately each bill was turned down before it could benefit anyone. However, state prosecutors recognized the potential for saving public official's time and money while also sparing the legal hassle in non-violent citizen's lives. State prosecutors are taking it upon themselves to do what legislators should have passed, and giving low-level marijuana offenders a break by allowing them to complete 8 hours of class or community service instead of ever seeing a court room.
“I’m not condoning it,” Saenz said of marijuana use. But prosecuting someone over such a small amount of dope just doesn’t make any sense, he said, considering how many police officers and court personnel must work to get that case to trial. All of that effort, for what is now a Class B misdemeanor.
The result is much-needed relief for court personnel. According to the Office of Court Administration, there’s been a 57 percent drop in misdemeanor marijuana court filings for Cameron County.