Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program
The Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program (MMDP) is a pre-charge diversion program offered by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to Offenders who would otherwise be arrested and charged with possession of misdemeanor marijuana, regardless of criminal history.
It is a voluntary program which gives the Offender an opportunity to avoid arrest, jail booking, and the filing of a criminal charge.
The goal of this policy is to ensure that: (1) the limited resources of this Office, local law enforcement, and the Harris County Jail are used responsibly to increase public safety; and (2) individuals who commit the non-violent crime of possessing a misdemeanor amount of marijuana are not stigmatized by a criminal record that limits their employment, education, and housing opportunities.
During the past decade, this Office prosecuted more than 100,000 individuals for misdemeanor possession of marijuana at a cost in excess of $100 million dollars. The endeavor has produced no public safety benefit for the people of Harris County and has harmed reform efforts.
Additionally, a District Attorney has the duty “not to convict, but to see that justice is done,” and the important function of trying “to reform and improve the administration of justice.” Therefore, it is this Office’s responsibility to consider the total impact of arrest and conviction for minor law infractions upon all people, especially when past prosecutions have disproportionately impacted communities of color.
Finally, this Office recognizes that there are circumstances when the possession of even small amounts of marijuana may threaten the health and welfare of community members, so those offenders who possess marijuana in drug free zones near schools and in correctional facilities will be charged and prosecuted.
A person is eligible to participate in the MMDP program if he or she:
- Is an adult, age 17 or older;
- Is detained or arrested for possession of marijuana (Class A & B);
- Possesses sufficient identifying information at the time of detention or arrest according to the intervening law enforcement agency’s policy.
A person is not eligible to participate in the MMDP program if he or she:
- Is charged with additional crime(s) arising out of the instant detention, other than Class C misdemeanor tickets; in such instances, the Offender will be charged with the other crime only and the marijuana should be tagged as evidence for the case charged;
- Is in possession of a concealed handgun and marijuana; in such instances, the Offender will be charged with Unlawfully Carrying A Weapon only; the marijuana will be tagged as evidence; or
- Currently has an active warrant for arrest; in such instances, the marijuana should be confiscated and tagged as evidence for the active case.
For updates and historical information on our progress with the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program, see also the following links:
March 2019 Two-Year Program Update
July 2019 Policy on Hemp/Marijuana
January 2018 Press Release on MMDP
February 2017 Unveiling of MMDP
The Economics of Misdemeanor Marijuana Prosecution
Policy Statement - Updated April 10, 2019
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