HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — District Attorney Kim Ogg officially recited her oath in a private swearing in, but she took the opportunity at her very public inauguration ceremony to echo some progressive views heard during her campaign on marijuana prosecution.
“All misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail,” Ogg said during her comments from the podium.
You shouldn't do drugs, but if you do, and you get caught, it sounds like 2017 is going to be a whole lot friendlier to you than 2016 might have been.
“I've never felt good about putting marijuana users in the same jail cells as murderers. It's just not fair, it doesn't make any sense, and our country is resoundingly against that,” Ogg said briefly after her inauguration finished.
But that's only for misdemeanors. It could mean jail time for Houston rappers Paul Wall and Baby Bash. The two rappers face felony charges after getting busted with as much as 400 grams of weed and other marijuana byproducts with the intent to deliver.
“I'm going to look at our legislature to take another look at the drug laws and the penalties that are imposed under Texas law. As long as it's the law, I’ll follow it. But our office is going to use the discretion that the legislature gave us to handle marijuana cases differently,” Ogg said when asked about the charges against the local celebrities.
The law is still the law, and until one of the many bills filed in Austin trying to relax Texas’ stance on weed actually sees consideration. Bash and Paul will have to rely on the prosecutor's discretion and evidence in their favor.
The bottom line is whether or not Houston's new D.A. believes pot smokers belong in jail, there's still a limit to discretion. Her election is not a carte blanche invitation to spark up.