Author Meagan Flynn

District Attorney Kim Ogg and heads of local law enforcement announced Thursday that, starting March 1, all police agencies in Harris County will no longer arrest people caught with four ounces or less of marijuana, and the DA’s office will no longer be prosecuting those cases.

The remarkable move, which Ogg had championed throughout her 2016 campaign, pushes the third largest county in the nation to the forefront of marijuana reform in places where it is still illegal. Harris County will join only the Brooklyn County District Attorney’s Office in New York in choosing to divert misdemeanor marijuana defendants away from jail entirely, saving taxpayers millions of dollars and saving thousands of people the lifelong burden of a criminal record. Here are the details.

Houston rapper Paul Wall and Baby Bash might as well volunteer to be DD’s this New Year’s Eve, because on Tuesday, a judge ordered that they not drink alcohol or do any drugs as part of their bond conditions. Just before Christmas, the rappers and several others were arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and possession of THC with intent to deliver, both felonies.

Each told a judge that he would not pass a drug test if made to pee in a cup.

Trying to pass marijuana legislation in Texas “is akin to trying to clean the Statue of Liberty by licking it,” State Representative Harold Dutton (D-Houston) said in a recent interview with Houston NORML.

Sure, it’s no doubt been tough. But after four more states legalized recreational marijuana on November 8, might Texas be a little more inclined to at least take more baby steps?

Dutton is hoping the answer is yes. Last week, lawmakers filed several key marijuana-reform bills or proposals in the Legislature, ranging from a proposal allowing Texas voters to decide whether weed should be legalized to various bills that decriminalize possessing an ounce or less.

It’s looking like the start of a beautiful friendship between the next Harris County sheriff and district attorney — or however else you want to put that in criminal-justice speak.

DA-elect Kim Ogg has pushed decriminalizing misdemeanor amounts of marijuana for the past two years and will finally have the chance to implement it come January 1 — but the proposal likely will come to hold more weight given Ogg is far from the lone reformer trying to change the criminal-justice landscape in Harris County. Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez has publicly pushed for the end to arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, too. And with the two foremost law enforcement officers in the third-largest county in the nation gunning for what is bound to be a sweeping reform, Houston NORML Communications Director Jason Miller says the message this will send across the state and even the country will no doubt be significant.

Here’s what they plan to do.

Announcing yet another lawsuit filed against a sketchy local business selling the dangerous synthetic drug “kush” under the counter, city, county and state officials gathered Thursday to renew calls to end the drug’s epidemic.

On Tuesday, the City of Houston and the Texas Attorney General’s Office busted Spice Boutique with a deceptive trade lawsuit, seeking an immediate temporary restraining order against the business to stop it from selling any more kush. Spice Boutique may also have to pay hundreds of thousands in damages, depending on what a potential jury may find appropriate as punishment.

In addition, two men in their forties who ran the operation, Minh Dang and Tuan Dang, have been arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Police recovered 30 pounds of illegal narcotics and thousands of dollars in gold during the investigation, which began in June just after 16 people, many of them homeless, overdosed on kush in Hermann Park. It was an incident that prompted Mayor Sylvester Turner to start cracking down on kush in Houston.