DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)Earlier this year the Dallas City Council approved a program that would allow some people to walk away with only a ticket if they’re caught with marijuana… that new policy is set to go into effect on Friday.

Citizens are being warned that the cite and release program doesn’t give people free reign to purchase and light up as they please. Marijuana is still illegal in the City of Dallas and the State of Texas, but the new program would eliminate jail time for some people.

An activists smokes a marijuana joint. (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Anyone who lives in the Dallas County portion of the City of Dallas and is stopped in the area with four ounces of marijuana or less will be issued a citation instead of being arrested. The person must also be at least 17 years old, with no other convictions or outstanding warrants and have a valid Texas state ID or driver’s license.

While the suspect is allowed to walk away with a ticket, the crime of possessing marijuana is still either a Class A or Class B misdemeanor offense.

It was back in April when the Dallas City Council voted in favor of the program. City leaders say the ultimate goal is to reduce jail time for non-violent offenders, cut down the time officers spend at the jail processing suspects, and improve officer response time to emergencies.

Individuals should also remember that the cite and release program is not applicable in drug free zones — like areas near schools or daycare centers.