HOUSTON, Tx. — Getting high in Harris County? Well, let the paranoia subside, because District Attorney Devon Anderson’s got something pot-heads will want to hear. Anderson announced the beginning of the First Change Intervention Program at a press conference on October 1.
It seems Harris County is coming to terms with the theory that not everyone who’s caught with pot (specifically, two ounces or less) should be considered a “bad guy” by the court system.
Anderson says, “Under this new program [if you’re caught with marijuana] you will be arrested and transported… Then we will give you the opportunity to to complete either 8-hours of community service or an 8-hour class that will allow you to avoid a criminal conviction.”
Anyone arrested for possession, who is assessed as medium to low risk by the First Chance Program will be eligible to have their reefer-record wiped clean by completing the class or community service.
In 2013 alone, Anderson’s office processed 43,000 Class-B misdemeanors, most of which were possession of marijuana cases involving first-time, non-violent offenders.
So, Anderson hopes that offenders will be “scared straight” by the whole experience and hoped to keep individuals, “…from entering the revolving door of the criminal justice system.”
The program begins October 6th, when we’ll get to see how many pot-heads can manage to keep out of the joint.