When Texas legalized hemp last year, it threw the state’s marijuana policing into some kind of chaos. All of a sudden, officers were largely left without proper testing technology to determine if suspects’ leafy greens possessed a THC percentage above the legal cutoff of 0.3 percent. As a result, law enforcement authorities across the state began to throw up their hands and throw out low-level possession cases.
In the state’s capital, that trending away from marijuana possession policing may soon be turned into official policy. Austin City Council member Greg Casar has filed a draft resolution that would prohibit city cops from using government money to test for THC percentages.
The plan would also instruct the police department to deprioritize cannabis misdemeanor cases unless there is a safety threat involved.
“Frankly, we’re trying to maintain what’s happening right now, which is that [marijuana] citations are going nowhere,” Casar told the Texas Observer. “Why would we go back to a world where these citations go somewhere?”
In addition to the resources needed for THC testing procedures, the city has long struggled with the racially biased nature of its cannabis policing. Nearly half of all marijuana possession citations issued by the Austin