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Another Texas county looks to reduce penalties for marijuana possession

EL PASO, Texas — A new program in western Texas could waive some marijuana charges for community service.

The El Paso Times reports that El Paso County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved the First Chance program.

The program will be open to first-time offenders who are found with 2 ounces or less of marijuana. Anyone caught with marijuana in addition to facing another charge won’t be eligible.

El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles says the program gives first-time offenders the chance to prevent a future of illegal drug use. He also says it frees up police resources.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza says there were more than 2,600 cases of possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2016.

The program is set to begin in November. El Paso County’s move follows similar policies in Dallas County, Harris County and Dallas.

Information from: El Paso Times