Texas Activists Fight Back After Local Lawmakers Undermine Voter-Approved Marijuana Decriminalization Measures

Texas Activists Fight Back After Local Lawmakers Undermine Voter-Approved Marijuana Decriminalization Measures
MJmooment

Texas officials in several cities have moved to overturn or undercut local marijuana decriminalization ordinances that voters overwhelmingly approved at the ballot this month—but activists aren’t going down without a fight. Five cities passed the decriminalization ballot measures with strong margins on November 8, but city councils and officials in at least three of those localities are facing criticism from advocates over their attempts to undermine the reforms. In Harker Heights, for example, the city council voted last week to repeal the ordinance altogether. Ground Game Texas, the campaign that spearheaded the decriminalization ordinances, says it is planning to collect signatures for another local referendum to go before voters during Harker Heights’s next election that would effectively repeal the repeal. In Denton, meanwhile, local officials haven’t pursued an outright repeal of the reform measure that voters approved there, but they have challenged key provisions, saying that the city isn’t authorized to direct police to make the prescribed policy changes. However, the mayor and city manager have said that low-level cannabis offenses will continue to be treated as low law enforcement priorities. The Killeen City Council decided to press pause on implementing the local voter-approved decriminalization ordinance, arguing that there are legal concerns that lawmakers need to sort through before potentially giving it their approval. One councilmember, Jose Segarra, said that he took particular issue with provision of the reform measure preventing police from using the odor of marijuana alone as the basis for a search, and he suggested that the local government could amend the ordinance to eliminate that language. So far, the two other Texas cities that passed decriminalization measures this month—Elgin and San Marcos—have not raised legislative or legal objections. But advocates aren’t planning to cede any of the victories. Since the Harker Heights City Council has already…

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Source : Texas Activists Fight Back After Local Lawmakers Undermine Voter-Approved Marijuana Decriminalization Measures

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