A resolution to discourage El Paso police officers from arresting residents caught with much less than four ounces of cannabis is at the moment below consideration by the El Paso City Council.
Rather of facing arrest, these charged with minor marijuana possession would get a citation and a court date.
This is specifically fascinating news for longstanding proponents of cannabis legalization and criminal justice in the Lone Star State.
Comparable attempts at decriminalization are occurring across the nation, even in a lot more conservative locations much less in favor of outright legalization, like El Paso.
Initially introduced by El Paso City Rep. Alexsandra Annello and Rep. Sam Morgan, the Cite and Release plan is an crucial signal of transform to come.
In addition, the proposed plan has the possible to make a substantial distinction in the lives of these marginalized El Paso residents who have been impacted the most by marijuana prohibition, particularly, low-earnings black and brown communities.
In addition, Rep. Annello continues to emphasize the undue expense presented by low-level marijuana arrests, arguing that the city would be improved off forgoing unnecessary arrests of non-violent drug customers, financially speaking.
In a current interview with KFox14, stated Rep. Annello, “They would nonetheless be held below the law and face these consequences. This is just which means a police officer does not have to take a person downtown to the jail and method them, which requires hours. The actual method of arresting a person, booking them downtown with the sheriff’s workplace, is astronomical and we need to have to appear at how we deal with that.”
Rep. Joe Moody expressed his help of the plan prior to the council vote final week, saying, “We’re not altering any of the underlying laws. We’re saying we’re not going to arrest you or bring you into the criminal justice method. We are going to cite like we do at the roadside. IF there is not something else going on other than mere possession, we are not going to waste officer time and sources. We’re not going to waste county time to home you in the jail. We’re going to permit you to answer for that crime later in court.”
A statement by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), one particular of the biggest organizations in the nation pushing for cannabis legalization, reads, “Arrests for misdemeanor possession of marijuana outcome in a substantial drain on our police division, pretrial solutions and court sources, need numerous man-hours and tax dollars to arrest, transport, book, supervise, coordinate, and method paperwork for every alleged offender.”
With the Council’s approval, city employees are now poised to commence gathering information to construct the program’s framework.
A equivalent plan has been operating in El Paso because as early as 2017.
A small more than two years ago, the Initially Possibility System was authorized following a unanimous vote by the board of El Paso County Commissioners. As aspect of the diversion plan, residents charged with initially-time possession of a tiny quantity of marijuana are offered the alternative to full neighborhood service and steer clear of a criminal record in lieu of facing jail time.