Texas activists on Wednesday handed out signatures to put in place an initiative to decriminalize marijuana in the Austin 2022 ballot.
Ground Game Texas, a progressive organization founded earlier this year, has submitted more than 30,000 signatures to qualify the local action before voters in the May 7 elections next year.
While Austin, as well as other Texas cities such as Dallas, have already independently enacted law enforcement policy changes aimed at reducing arrests for cannabis-related offenses through the issuance of citations and subpoenas, the 2021 Austin Freedom Act will take reform a step further. .
The initiative seeks to end arrests and felony citations for marijuana possession within the Texas capital. It also says police cannot issue citations for remains or tools in lieu of a possession charge.
The city clerk will now verify that we have provided at least 20,000 valid signatures.
Then, the city council will have the opportunity to adopt the new law directly, or put it into a “united election” on May 7, 2022.
– GroundGameTX (GroundGameTX) December 1, 2021
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of on-the-ground regulators from Ground Game Texas and partner organizations, Austin residents will soon be able to make lasting change to outdated and racist criminal justice laws,” Mike Siegel, Political Director of Ground Game Texas, said in press release. “Through successful campaigns like this, Ground Game Texas will continue to empower and excite communities around incremental change — and provide assistance to marginalized communities that are often left behind.”
The Measurement It would also prohibit the use of city funds to order or test cannabis to determine if it meets the state’s definition of a legal product. Hemp is legal in the state, which creates complications for law enforcement, as they are now tasked with determining whether confiscated cannabis products comply with state law.
Under this initiative, the implementation of non-strike orders will also be prohibited in the city – A which aroused great national interest Last year after this resulted in Kentucky officers entering Briona Taylor’s apartment and killing her in a botched drug raid.
Joining the activists were Austin City Council members Greg Cassar and Vanessa Fuentes in the signing role on Wednesday.
I tried Game Ground Texas previously Put the scale on this year’s ballotHowever, they did not meet the deadline for signing the signature and turned their attention to 2022.
This is huge news, and a milestone for us in building a progressive, long-term regulatory infrastructure to last beyond Texas’ election cycles.
So grateful to the organizers, volunteers and staff who made this possible.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you! https://t.co/0rAG3ibq1M
– JulieOliverTX November 30, 2021
While the measure is now set to appear in the May ballot, it is also possible that the Austin City Council will move independently to adopt the ordinance before the election.
“The Austinians continue to work towards reducing decades of prohibition of negative effects caused by any available means,” Jax Finkel, executive director of Texas NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “During the transition period, such domestic actions create pressure for more action during the upcoming legislative session. With the majority of Texans supporting the creation of a regulated market for cannabis, it is important to continue to move this conversation forward.”
Elsewhere in the state, activists in San Marcos launched a campaign in September to Putting marijuana decriminalization into November poll Next year.
Ground Game Texas told Marijuana Moment Wednesday that it also plans to put in place a procedure to decriminalize cannabis before voters in Killeen next fall.
There is no statewide citizen-led initiative process that would enable advocates to put an issue such as decriminalization or legalization on the ballot in Texas. At the local level, however, there are limited instances where activists can take advantage of self-governing laws that allow for policy changes.
A recent poll showed that the vast majority of Texans – including most Republicans –Support broader reform of marijuana legalization For adult use.
The survey, conducted by the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, found that 67 percent of Texans support broad reform. Fifty-one percent of respondents who identified as Republicans said they support legalization.
In Texas, drug policy reform advanced in the legislature in the last session, though not necessarily at the pace advocates had hoped to see.
Advocates are still disappointed, however, that lawmakers have been Unable to pass more expansive cannabis bills– Including a decriminalization proposal that acquitted the House of Representatives but saw no action in the Senate.
The The Texas Republican Party adopted the Plank platform Agreeing to decriminalize marijuana possession in 2018.
Another Texas poll released over the summer found that 60 percent of the state’s voters Support making cannabis legal for “any use”.
Image courtesy of Brian Champlain.