San Marcos, Texas’ cite-and-release policy is now in effect, which forces police to issue citations for low-level cannabis crimes instead of arrests in the city, according to a KVUE report. San Marcos is the first city in Texas to approve cite-and-release as a binding law and not just a resolution.
Under the new policy, those found in possession of less than four ounces of cannabis will not be arrested “unless a disqualifying circumstance outlined in the policy applies.” Justifiable arrests under the policy include if the person does not live in Hays County, is at risk of causing harm to themselves or others, is unwilling to provide proper identification, demands to be taken before a magistrate, has an outstanding warrant, or is suspected of committing a crime not included in the ordinance.
Hays County-based grassroots organization Mano Amiga, which pushed for the reforms for more than a year, said that in 2013, low-level cannabis possession had accounted for the most arrests in the city.
Interim Police Chief Bob Klett told the Austin American-Statesman that the department has been “complying with the ordinance since the day after the council’s second reading” and that he does not “foresee any issues” with the law and law enforcement in the city.
Other crimes covered under the cite-and-release include Class C misdemeanors other than family violence, assault, or public intoxication; driving with an invalid license; criminal mischief; graffiti; theft of property; and theft of services.
Last month, the city of El Paso approved a similar policy for up to 2 ounces and cannabis-related Class A and Class B misdemeanors. Cannabis remains illegal under Texas state law.
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