CTX judge supports bill that would lessen punishment for minor pot possession

Posted at 11:13 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 15:11:37-04

House Bill 81 sits in the Texas House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. If it became law, police officers would not be able to arrest people who possessed an ounce of marijuana or less. On Monday, 25 people spoke out in favor of the bill at a committee meeting at the State Capitol. Among them was John Delaney, currently a child protection court judge and formerly a district judge in Brazos County.

"There are many other states that have adopted this with great success," Delaney said about House Bill 81. "We're hoping that Texas will be smart on crime instead of irrationally tough on crime."

Delaney says Texas police arrest around 55,000 people every year for possession an ounce or less of marijuana. He says an officer will spend an average of two and a half hours on each case.

"That's time off the street, out of patrol, out of service when a police officer could be responding to true human emergencies," Delaney said.

Delaney is also concerned about what he calls the collateral consequences of someone having a drug conviction on his or her record. He describes those consequences as a loss of drivers license and an increased difficulty in getting jobs and housing.

News Channel 25 will continue to track the progress of House Bill 81 in the Texas Legislature.

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