Marijuana Freedom Day (4/20, get it?). The folks over at NORML are planning events around the country both to protest the laws making marijuana illegal as well as to celebrate the herb, hippie lettuce, happy grass, pot - whatever you wish to call it. Houston's even in on the act.
As you may know, the Harris County Jail is packed to the gills -- due largely in part to people arrested and convicted of minor possession charges. The inmate processing center was clogged over the weekend that the Harris County Sheriff's Office announced that it would stop accepting people brought in by HPD for low-level traffic offenses. Of course that may have been because a plan for expanding the inmate processing center is scheduled to go before county commissioners.
How would I reduce overcrowding in the county jail? People arrested for what amounts to "personal use" quantities of marijuana (or as those brilliant scholars in the state legislature spell it - marihuana) should either be charged with a Class C misdemeanor for possession of paraphenalia or should be issued a citation with an order to appear in county court under the state's "Catch and Release" initiative.
According to Alan Bernstein, the Public Affairs Director of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the sheriff's office never stopped accepting anyone brought to the jail by HPD. He said that it was HPD's decision to stop making arrests for low-level traffic offenses.
Of course, what's really the difference between threatening not to accept arrestees and turning them away at the door?