The Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas have essentially decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Police chief Brian Manley stated that “APD will no longer cite or arrest individuals with sufficient identification for Class A or Class B misdemeanor ‘possession of marijuana’ offenses, unless there is an immediate threat to a person’s safety or doing so as part of the investigation of a high priority, felony-level narcotics case or the investigation of a violent felony,” Texas Tribune reported.
Austin police officers who encounter a person in possession of a misdemeanor amount of cannabis are instructed to seize the drug, file a report about the encounter, and then release the person(s) without charges.
“After reviewing the current protocols for handling marijuana cases at all of the relevant County and District Courts and Attorney Offices and/or conferring with representatives from those respective entities, APD has revised our marijuana-enforcement [policies] to comply with Council’s resolution and align with present practices within the local judicial system,” Manley noted.
Manley stated that cannabis enforcement hasn’t been a priority and that he enacted a “cite-and-release” policy for cannabis arrests more than a decade ago. In the first few months of 2020, only three arrests were made by APD for suspected misdemeanor cannabis crimes, and “all of which were made in the interest of public safety.”