This week, the Dallas City Council voted to approve a cite and release program for anyone busted with a small amount of pot. Under the new program, anyone caught with less than four ounces of weed can be given a citation instead of being sent to jail. In order to qualify, a person must live in Dallas County and not be accused of any other criminal charges.
According to the Dallas Police Department, 432 people who were arrested for marijuana possession last year would have been eligible for the cite and release program if it had been implemented then.
"The implementation of cite and release would be a major step in eliminating the number of black, brown and working class people from being branded as a criminal for the rest of their life and from clogging up the prison system," said Beth Wise, a supporter of the program.
Brittany White, organizer for faith-based community group Live Free, also believes that the program will help mitigate the damage that marijuana arrests can have on the lives of minorities and the poor.
Instead of being arrested, those cited under the new program will “have an opportunity to correct their lives,” White said. “They will not be branded as a felon, (be) incarcerated, lose their homes, lose their jobs, their cars. They still have access to a quality of life.”
The new cite and release program will go into effect as of October 1st.