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Houston District Attorney Candidates Want To Reduce Threat Of Arrest For Possession Of Small Amounts Of Marijuana


Gavel marijuana miami prosecutorBy Alizeh Siddiqui

As reported by the Houston Chronicle, a move to replace criminal penalties with civil penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana surfaced Wednesday as a major issue in the contentious race for Houston’s Harris County District Attorney, with both candidates claiming ownership of the idea.

However, the details, purposes, and primary goal of the plan, claimed by both candidates, are fundamentally different.

Republican incumbent candidate, Devon Anderson, said that starting Monday, non-violent first offenders in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana will be able to avoid prosecution by performing eight hours of community service or by participating in a drug awareness class.

“We are targeting the people we believe are self-correcting and will be ‘scared straight’ by being handcuffed and transported. Our goal is to keep these individuals from entering the revolving door of the criminal justice system,” stated Anderson.

Anderson’s recent announcement, a month away from November’s election, sparked political discourse from his challenger, Democrat Kim Ogg, who in August announced her own idea for handling misdemeanor marijuana possession. Her plan, if elected, is to have police officers fine misdemeanor marijuana suspects, even repeat offenders, and require them to spend two days cleaning up around Houston’s bayous. Her program is said to save an average of $10 million a year in jail, court, and prosecution costs by diverting around 12,000 offenders annually.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project - make a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Pre-legalization, it sounds much the same idea Seattle voter’s approved by ballot initiative back in 2006 (I-70) making marijuana possession lower than jay-walking. I hope it works Texas needs all of the help it can get.

  2. Thanks for that info, I didn’t know about Synanon. From Wikipedia page on “attack therapy”: “William Miller and colleagues found that the more confrontational a counselor was, the more his or her clients with alcohol problems drank.”

    It says that those with a positive self-image were helped by this “therapy,” which amounted to about 50% of the people from a study — and I have to wonder about that, because I would guess that most people who suffer from addiction have low self-esteem.

  3. I know some people revere our founding fathers, but that world is so different than this one… Nothing wrong with acknowledging our history, but using it to make decisions in 2014 seems a little like living in the past. Kinda like depending on a document written by rich, white men, during the era of slavery (when women had no voice whatsoever), to write our laws today.

  4. Captain Obvious on

    The purpose of rehab and drug awareness fear campaigns are to create repeat customers via propaganda/brainwashing to feed perpetual war on US soil. It is nothing more than a puritanical philosophy our founding fathers overwhelmingly rejected to start our country.

  5. About the scared straight programs: some of these “scared straight” methods were derived from the infamous Synanon rehab cult a few decades ago. The “scared straight” tactics was known back in the late 60’s and 70’s as “attack therapy”.
    The idea was to make the subject persecute his own self with the help of his peers as a way to be “cured” or brainwashed. Some judges actually sent people who ran afoul of the drug laws to rehab cults like Synanon.
    Synanon even got support from famous people like Joan “Mommie Dearest” Crawford to give this cult legitimacy. Synanon later fell into disrepute when they were accused of putting a snake in someone’s mailbox to send a “message”. But “attack therapy” became repackaged as “scared straight,” and lives on to this day.
    Attack therapy was also employed by Jim Jones over his followers (it was called “catharsis” in that instance). The SLA (the gang that kidnapped Patty Hearst in 1974) also engaged in this, but they called them “self critique” sessions.
    And yet people like Anderson, Sabet and co. still think to this day that such cult tactics are an appropriate way to deal with cannabis consumers (or anyone else for that matter).

  6. Devon Anderson acts like he’s doing cannabis consumers a great big favor. Need I mention what he can do with his marvelous idea? Let’s think about this for a second. He wants cannabis consumers to think of themselves as lost degenerate souls in need of being blackmailed into forced labor or attending “re-education” classes to avoid prosecution. And his opponent’s Kim Ong’s alternative solution? Forced labor cleaning around Houston’s bayous. This is ghastly totalitarian and cultish.

  7. How much will the Republican plan save? I’m guessing that offenders will have to pay for their own “rehabilitation,” like this drug awareness class, neither of which is going to help them.

    And… “drug awareness”? A rather non-threatening term for the criminal injustice system to use. From “scared straight” to “drug awareness” — that’s hilarious. Anyway, I think those caught up in the criminal injustice system are very “aware” of drugs.

    And Mr. Anderson, don’t you know that those “scared straight” programs were proven to be ineffective?

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