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Possession of Marijuana – it’s not a traffic a ticket.

Recently, I saw on the news people in Austin being interviewed about the “new cite and release law” regarding possession of marijuana in Austin, Texas. The “new law” is really not so new, what is new is the fact that the Austin Police Department will be adapting the law that was passed in 2007.

The law has been in effect since September of 2007. The law simply offers police a choice to issue a citation to offenders for a handful of low-level class A and B misdemeanor crimes – including certain criminal mischief and graffiti charges, driving under a suspended license, and possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana. After seeing the news broadcast, and the reactions, I have decided I would clear up a few misconceptions regarding the “new law.”

The law does not eliminate jail time as a punishment possibility for any misdemeanors, including possession of marijuana. Possession of Marijuana is still punishable by jail time. Less than 2oz (class b) can receive punishment of up to 180 days while 4oz > 2oz (class a) can receive up to 1 year in jail.

The law (and the implementation of it) does not change the offense or category level for possession of marijuana or any other misdemeanors. The only change is that instead of spending a night in jail before being released on a personal bond, you are given a written citation telling you to appear in court.

So to those that were happy because they thought that POM (Possession of Marijuana) was now only a class c traffic offense, I’m sorry. And to those that are upset because they think that POM is now decriminalized, well it’s not.