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Candidate for sheriff publishes pot policy paper

Thursday, January 21, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

A candidate for the Democratic nomination for Travis County sheriff issued a policy paper late Wednesday afternoon that called for relaxed enforcement of marijuana possession laws. In the paper, Constable Sally Hernandez cites data provided by the American Civil Liberties Union that shows racial disparities in the arrest rates among African-Americans and whites. Adding to that, she writes: “Investigating and prosecuting possession of marijuana cases is costly and resources are better spent and more effective pursuing violent crimes and property offenses.” Hernandez noted that Texas law allows officers to defer arrests on people caught with small amounts of marijuana, but she said Travis County deputies cite and release only about 30 percent of the time. She is calling for a “uniformed (sic) policy on when a person is cite and release eligible.” She also pointed to Harris County’s First Chance Intervention Program, which helps keep first-time offenders’ records clean. According to the paper, Hernandez said she will work with the Commissioners Court, the county attorney and the district attorney to develop a similar program if she is elected sheriff.

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