Though not a perfect (or long-term) solution, the Fort Worth Police Department has a new policy regarding marijuana possession. If police catch a person possessing a small amount of marijuana (usually under 4 ounces), they will confiscate it but not make an arrest or issue a citation. At least, this is the case in Fort Worth. Other police agencies within Tarrant County do not share this policy and still make marijuana arrests. This means it is up to the District Attorney on whether the prosecute a marijuana possession case from one of these other Tarrant County Police Departments. This is why Fort Worth PD’s solution for marijuana possession charges is not ideal. Mimi is a criminal defense lawyer in Tarrant County and has a reputation as a fighter. She will fight for the best possible solution, especially due to the problem with testing a confiscated substance.
This problem isn’t just focused on Tarrant County, though. There is a reverse situation in Dallas County. There, the DA has a policy of not prosecuting (most) small marijuana possession charges, but Dallas PD still makes arrests and puts people in jail. Not to be overly political, but it seems the ideal solution for this disconnect regarding marijuana possession is to for the State Legislators to step in. If we have a state-wide decriminalization of small marijuana possession, then perhaps it would solve this disconnect while also preventing a backlog of possession cases in the misdemeanor courts.
Why decriminalize small marijuana possession?
Decriminalizing small marijuana possession seems to make sense because there is an issue with testing. Texas recently decriminalized most Hemp and CBD products. Because of this, the State now has a problem in determining the chemical makeup of confiscated substances. There are no labs that have an official way of determining whether a confiscated substance is CBD or marijuana. If the labs cannot differentiate, how would a Prosecutor know whether they are dealing with a legal substance or marijuana? This is a legal issue, because Prosecutors might allege criminal possession when the substance, in fact, was completely legal.
Mimi Coffey appeared on NBC 5 news to provide the perspective of a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Worth. She stated that prosecutors have no way to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. The full NBC 5 story can be found at https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/fort-worth-police-stop-enforcing-most-marijuana-laws-amid-questions-about-testing/2488259/. Mimi has appeared on many local and national news stations to discuss the perspective of a criminal defense lawyer in Tarrant county.