in the weeds
Attorney General Ken Paxton sues 5 Texas cities over marijuana policies
The cities of Austin, Denton, Elgin, Killeen, and San Marcos have all decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing them.
"I will not stand idly by as cities run by pro-crime extremists deliberately violate Texas law and promote the use of illicit drugs that harm our communities," Paxton said in a statement. "It's quite simple: The Legislature passes every law after a full debate on the issues, and we don't allow cities the ability to create anarchy by picking and choosing the laws they enforce."
Julie Oliver is the executive director of Ground Game Texas, which uses the petition process to decriminalize marijuana. In 2022, 85% of Austin voters cast their ballots in favor of the proposition.
"People deserve to have options. People deserve to be able to at least talk to their doctor about options. When other places have found that there can be safe cannabis use, we shouldn't have, you know, big government stepping in and saying, 'Oh no, you can't do that,'" Oliver said.
In San Marcos, about 82% of voters voted in favor of a similar proposition, along with almost 75% of voters in Elgin. Sam Benavides works with Mano Amiga, collaborating with Ground Game Texas to collect signatures and get the measure on the ballot.
"There are so many collateral consequences that can come along with even a petty charge for possession of marijuana. With that charge on your record, you can, for students, lose your financial aid. A landlord can see that, you can struggle to find housing, employment," Benavides said.
Oliver said Ground Game Texas is still discussing whether it will join any of the suits to defend it.
"In every city we've gone into, an overwhelming majority of communities of color are arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. There are just better ways to spend those finite, precious city resources," Oliver said.
Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.