Austin Police Will Stop Marijuana Possession Arrests And Citations


By Jolie McCullough, The Texas Tribune

The Austin Police Department has effectively decriminalized the possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana, according to a Thursday police memo.

“APD will no longer cite or arrest individuals with sufficient identification for Class A or Class B misdemeanorpossession of marijuana’ offenses, unless there is an immediate threat to a person’s safety or doing so as part of the investigation of a high priority, felony-level narcotics case or the investigation of a violent felony,” Police Chief Brian Manley wrote in a memo to the Austin mayor and city council.

The move comes more than a year after the Texas Legislature legalized hemp and, in the process, complicated marijuana prosecutions across the state.

Under the new law, the definition of marijuana was narrowed from parts of the cannabis plant to cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive ingredient in the plant. The distinction caused numerous prosecutors to drop hundreds of marijuana cases and stop accepting new ones, arguing they could not tell the difference between the two without unavailable lab testing.

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