A cite-and-release program was officially approved in Dallas County Tuesday.

That means if you get caught in Dallas with four ounces or less of marijuana, you won't have to spend the night in jail starting Dec.1. Instead of being arrested and jailed, you'll receive a citation to appear in court at a later date.

Dallas County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 making way for the policy to take effect.

The program was passed in April and was supposed to start October 1, but was delayed after Dallas County commissioners voiced concern over how the pilot program would be enforced.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price voted against this program.

According to District Attorney Faith Johnson, all first-time misdemeanor marijuana offenders have the opportunity to complete a series of requirements in order to have their case dismissed and they will be immediately eligible to have their records expunged.

"While the idea of unilaterally decriminalizing marijuana is increasingly gaining popularity and support around the country, I believe that such a decision rests with the legislature, not my office," Johnson said.

Additional things to know about cite-and-release:

  • Does not change the level or degree of the offense
  • Does not make possession of marijuana an offense punishable by a "ticket" or just a fine
  • Only difference is that the person is not arrested on the scene, but instead given a "citation" to appear later to face the same charges
  • A law enforcement officer still has to complete a report, log in the drugs, etc.