AUSTIN, Texas — Prosecutors in the most populated areas of Texas have in recent years dismissed a significantly larger number of marijuana offenses involving smaller amounts of the drug, according to a newspaper analysis.

In the five most populous counties — Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Travis — the rate of dismissals has risen since 2011, according to the review by the Austin American-Statesman.

Data kept by the Texas Office of Court Administration shows dismissals are increasing fastest in North Texas. Just 9 percent of cases were dismissed in Tarrant County five years ago, but last year about a quarter of them were dropped.

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