SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County district attorney is standing by his decision not to prosecute cases of suspected marijuana possession under 4 ounces despite Gov. Greg Abbott and other state leaders saying he should.
The reason behind Gonzales' decision remains the same. There's no established way to tell the difference between illegal marijuana and legal hemp.
The decision is causing a stir in the state's capitol.
The governor’s office sent a letter to several district attorneys throughout the state who are no longer prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases. The letter states the DAs have a misunderstanding of how House Bill 1325 works.
House Bill 1325 legalized hemp, which contains cannabidiol, or CBD, but the plant looks and smells like illegal marijuana, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the active compound that gives users a high.
State leaders are urging all district attorney to "uphold their oath and faithfully execute the law. Marijuana has not been decriminalized in Texas."
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales is standing his ground to not prosecute any misdemeanor marijuana cases and to the governor’s letter: "The Governor's letter has no effect on our decision not to prosecute misdemeanor marijuana cases."
"We have an ethical obligation to seek justice, so in in my opinion, we should not be taking cases and exposing people to prosecution where we’re not confident we can prove a case in court, Gonzales said. "Texas rules of evidence requires us to prove any crime beyond a reasonable doubt."
On the other hand, Gonzales said, local law enforcement officials should continue to make arrests when they suspect illegal drugs to be present.