Weed problem has different policies in Houston area

Image 1 of 2

Driving down Southwest Freeway towards Sugar Land, you don't feel a difference, but when you cross Bissonnet Street, there's a big one.  

“You come into Fort Bend County with a couple of ounces of marijuana, and you get caught with it, you are going to jail, “said Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.  

That's not the case in Harris county where last year, District Attorney Kim Ogg introduced a new policy.

Anyone caught with up to four ounces of weed, which is about the amount you can stuff in a sandwich ziplock bag, must enroll in a misdemeanor marijuana diversion program. No jail time.

Ogg hopes the policy keeps nonviolent criminals out of jail, saves tax payer money and frees up resources to focus on prosecuting violent crimes.

“That’s not happening here in Fort Bend County, and it won't be for quite some time,” said Nehls. “Marijuana laws is all politics. In the large urban areas in these municipalities, with these large cities, it is run by more liberal policy makers. In these counties, us, in Montgomery County, you are not going to see it. This is a relatively conservative county.”

When it comes to medical marijuana, Nehls is all about it, especially after meeting a mother several years ago, whose little boy suffered from seizures or epilepsy.

“I wrote a letter to the legislature and said I support the idea trying to help the medicinal use. There's a purpose.”

Today it's legal to use limited amounts of marijuana extracts for severe forms of epilepsy.

When it comes to recreational use, the problem is getting worse according to Nehls.

“There are more kids, in my humble opinion, that are in our high schools smoking marijuana than they are cigarettes.” 

He has an important message for those even thinking about experimenting.

“We are seeing it more often where the marijuana cigarette isn't a marijuana cigarette anymore. It is marijuana laced with some other illicit drug that will blow your mind. Caution to those that say ' I would like to get high this afternoon.’ That high could cost you your life.”