In Jan. 2014, the Harris County DA made the following comments about marijuana prosecution:
“Marijuana is the number one drug that citizens over the age of 12 are addicted to or abuse. The negative effects of marijuana use on a developing brain can be permanent.”
“Marijuana is creating deadly situations right here in Harris County.”
“The most effective way to keep our law-abiding citizens safe is to obey all laws that our legislators put on the books at our State Capitol.”
Then in early Aug. 2014, Kim Ogg announced her plans for the future of marijuana prosecution complete with a program called.
No jail, no bail, no permanent record for misdemeanor marijuana offenders so long as they perform two days of community service picking up litter on and out of Houston bayous. The program will save an average of $10m per year in jail, court and prosecution costs and Ogg says the program’s recycling component will pay for itself in two years. Most importantly, an average 12,000 offenders per year would be able to clean up their criminal records and police would not lose 3 hours off the streets for each arrest.
Today, the District Attorney announced her own ‘new program’ to handle first-time marijuana offenders. In response, Ogg states,
“We need every police officer on the beat patrolling neighborhoods, protecting our families and our homes. Unfortunately, Anderson’s plan still requires arresting officers to spend at least three hours processing every misdemeanor marijuana case. Her plan totally fails to increase public safety.”
Additionally, Anderson’s program applies only to first offenders, approximately one-third of the 12,000 individuals arrested annually in Harris County for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
“First offenders are already eligible for pre-trial diversion. This is not a new plan…it’s a ‘me too’ program by a candidate who has shifted her position with the winds of political change.”
In a recent debate aired on Fox News, Anderson stated the intent of the new program was to, ” scare marijuana users straight.”
Ogg suggested such outdated rhetoric be shelved along with the lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ approach that has failed for decades, instead saddling offenders with lifelong criminal records that reduce employment and opportunity.
Ogg welcomes Anderson’s change of position. If you want to know more about what Devon Anderson will say tomorrow, go to kimoggforda.com.