Marijuana ‘Cite and Release' Program Stalled in Dallas

The policy was scheduled to take effect in Dallas on Sunday, Oct. 1

A new policy that would allow people caught with small amounts of marijuana in the city of Dallas to receive a ticket rather than be arrested is now stalled.

The "cite and release" policy was scheduled to take effect in Dallas on Sunday, Oct. 1, but Dallas police tell NBC 5 that more needs to be addressed about the program.

According to the Dallas Police Department, a private meeting between them, the Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office will be held on Friday to address "logistical concerns." This comes more than five months after the Dallas City Council approved "cite and release" for small amounts of marijuana possession.

Under"cite and release," offenders caught with less than four ounces of marijuana would be ticketed and summoned to make a court appearance and not taken to jail. The Dallas Police Department said the tickets would free up their officers on an already understaffed force to focus on more violent offenders.

But recent concerns about fairness, costs and procedure brought to the attention of city leaders by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price has city leaders meeting to make sure collective concerns about the program are addressed.

Pete Schulte, a local attorney and former police officer, says it's a great program, if offenders follow the law.

"The problem is on the back end. If it works perfectly that everybody shows up to court and everything, it's going to be great, but the chances of that happening are slim to none based on the size of Dallas County," Schulte said.

"So when a defendant doesn't show up to court, it actually adds a lot more on the back end for the county, not the police department, but the county, and that's what John Wiley Price was concerned with, and they're valid," he said.

Price did not return calls for comment on his concerns. Both Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins as well as the Dallas County District Attorney's Office tell NBC 5 that they are supportive of the program.

A final decision from the Commissioner's Court on the program is expected in mid-October, but there is no word yet on when it will actually start.

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