Our review of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) numbers show that a record high number of arrests in 2018, with 96,130 people being arrested for possession of marijuana (POM). Of those arrested in 2018, reporting shows that an estimated 63,000 people were ultimately prosecuted. While we are awaiting detailed 2019 data to be released by DPS this fall, preliminary data shows that arrests declined in 2019 by almost 50%, down to 45,131 people arrested for POM.
Of the POM arrests in 2018, 80% were for possessing less than 2 ounces. We also found that the 5 most populated counties (Bexar, Dallas, Tarrant, Travis and Harris) make up less than 30% of the state’s POM arrests. Recent news coverage showed that Dallas County created a cite & release policy to stop jailing for low-level POM, yet the Dallas Police Department (DPD) continues arresting on POM with more than 90% of those arrested are Black & Hispanic. (Learn more about race and marijuana law in Texas HERE.)
We hope to continue to see a downward trend on the number of people arrested in Texas. Our next opportunity to change the law will be during the 87th Legislature which starts in January 2021. To prepare, participate in an upcoming workshop on 9/28/20 at noon or check out our online Activist Training Guide.
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