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Dallas Police Loosen Arrest Policy For Marijuana Possession

Dallas Police Cruiser parked in front of downtown Dallas building.
Keith J Finks
The report also found that low-level marijuana offenses take up the police department’s time and are costly to process.

The Dallas Police Department will no longer charge and arrest people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana except under certain situations.

The new policy, which took effect earlier this month, comes after a recent report found Black and Latino residents in Dallas are more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses.

Under the new procedures, police will only charge individuals who caught with more than 2 ounces of marijuana or any amount of marijuana if the person is involved in a drug transaction.

Police can also charge and arrest an individual with any amount of marijuana if the person possess a firearm or is involved in a drug-related call for police service.

In all cases, police will seize the marijuana found on an individual.

Earlier this year, the Office of Community Police Oversight and The Leadership Conference Education Fund authored a report titled Public Safety in Dallas.

It analyzed arrest data and found that most of the police department’s enforcement is concentrated in 10 of the city’s 105 zip codes, areas located in mostly Black and Latino neighborhoods.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Black Dallas residents make up more than 57% of arrests for low-level drug-related offenses.
  • About 85% of low-level drug arrests are of individuals who possess less than two ounces of marijuana.
  • More than 90% of those arrests are of Black and Latino residents.

The report also found that low-level marijuana offenses take up the police department’s time and are costly to process.

Got a tip? Email Stella M. Chávez at You can follow Stella on Twitter @stellamchavez.

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Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.