Bell County, Texas DA Asks Police Chief to Resume Low-Level Cannabis Crime Enforcement

Bell County, Texas District Attorney Henry Garza has requested Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble to resume making arrests for low-level cannabis possession, even though voters passed a resolution to end enforcement.

 

Full story after the jump.

Bell County, Texas District Attorney Henry Garza has sent a letter to Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble asking him to rescind an order to end enforcement of low-level cannabis possession crimes, the Killeen Daily Herald reports. Killeen was one of five cities where voters approved a cannabis decriminalization ballot question on Election Day.

Two days after voters approved the reforms, Kimble issued “special order 22-07″ to end the enforcement of the state law.

“No arrests will be made for misdemeanor possession of marijuana,” the order states. “In lieu of a marijuana arrest, officers will not arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia or drug residue.”

Garza told the Herald that he expects to meet with the police chief about the request, which was also signed by County Attorney Jim Nichols.

“In that order, you instruct your employees, among other things, not to make arrests for the possession of misdemeanor amounts of marijuana nor to consider the odor of marijuana or hemp as probable cause for any search and seizure. I am writing to respectfully request that you rescind this order.” — Garza, in the letter, via the Herald 

Louie Minor, an activist with Ground Game Texas — the group behind the campaign — and who was elected as a Bell County Commissioner on the same night voters approved the decriminalization initiative, called Garza’s request “a non-binding opinion” and described it as “worthless as the paper it is written on.”

“The DA handles felonies, not misdemeanors,” Minor told the Herald. “The people voted on it, and the city is moving in the right direction. I praise the chief for giving a special order to comply with the will of the voters.” 

In the letter, Garza said the non-enforcement of cannabis crimes runs afoul of Texas state law.

The city council is scheduled to canvass the election’s results on November 22. City Council member Jose Segarra said the issue is something the city attorney would have to discuss with council members and give them legal guidance.

In Killeen, the measure was approved by almost 70% of voters.

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