Some Texas police chiefs fighting marijuana decriminalization

Tanjila Ahmed / Flickr

Texas police chiefs and sheriffs – most of them from rural and suburban areas – are fighting moves in the legislature to decriminalize marijuana.

A bill that would make possession of small amounts of pot a civil penalty passed a House committee this week. Possession of an ounce or less would result in a $250 fine but no jail time and no criminal record.

But, the law enforcement officers argued such a move would have bad consequences.

“Our research has found marijuana in legalized states can increase crime, negatively impact public health, place additional strain on social services, fail to eradicate criminal enterprises and that expenditures often outpace revenue collections,” said Chief Steve Dye with the Grand Prairie Police Department and the Texas Police Chief’s Association.

Dallas already cites and releases small-time offenders as a matter of policy. Officers can choose to give a person a citation.