A routine traffic stop on the evening of March 6 led to a misdemeanor drug possession charge for the superintendent of a major Texas public school district. The man was taken into custody by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper after less than 2 ounces of marijuana was allegedly discovered in his vehicle. Media reports indicate that he was released from the Robertson County Jail on his own recognizance on March 7.

According to a DPS report, the man’s car was pulled over on U.S. Highway 190 about 55 miles from Waco for driving in the passing lane. The trooper says that he became suspicious and decided to conduct a probable cause search of the vehicle after noticing the odor of marijuana.

The Waco Independent School District has announced that trustees will meet on March 19 to discuss the case. The man is a former Texas Association of School Boards Superintendent of the Year, and reports of his arrest have prompted an outpouring of support from the local community. A Change.org petition supporting the superintendent started by a local resident and retired teacher has been signed by 4,000 people and is expected to surpass its 5,000 signature goal.

Prosecutors are often reluctant to pursue minor marijuana possession cases because they understand that attitudes toward the drug are changing both in law enforcement and society as a whole. When individuals have not been in trouble with the law before and have the support of family members, friends or members of the community, experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge prosecutors to reduce or dismiss drug possession charges involving small amounts of marijuana.

Source: CBS DFW, Superintendent Of Texas School District Accused Of Marijuana Possession, Associated Press report, March 8, 2019Source: The Laredo Morning Times, Petition to support former LISD superintendent charged with possession gets thousands of signatures, JeriLynn Thorpe, March 11, 2019