Denton, Texas City Council Approves Ballot Initiative to Decriminalize Cannabis

Voters in Denton, Texas will consider a ballot initiative during the midterm elections that, if passed, would decriminalize low-level cannabis possession by blocking local police from enforcing misdemeanor cannabis crimes.

Full story after the jump.

The Denton, Texas City Council on Tuesday voted to put a cannabis decriminalization question on midterm election ballots this November, CBSDFW reports. The referendum was backed by Ground Game Texas and Decriminalize Denton which submitted a petition with nearly 3,000 signatures to put the issue to voters.

The reforms would not allow sales for any reason and state and federal laws could still be enforced but the local police department would no longer be able to enforce misdemeanor cannabis crimes.

In May, voters in Austin approved a similar initiative also backed by Ground Game Texas. 

Last week, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R), in an editorial, called for cannabis decriminalization in the state and the expansion of medical cannabis, saying prohibition has roots in “racism, classism, and a large central government with an authoritarian desire to control others.” 

“It is as anti-American in its origins as could be imaginable. Today, in the 21st century, this must end. We must start with a new chapter and a new attitude about the use of cannabis – especially when it comes to its potential medicinal benefits.” — Miller, “Editorial: Standing Up For Compassionate Use,” July 15, 2022  

Broad cannabis legalization is opposed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) but Miller indicated he would urge the governor and the Republican-led Legislature “to come together and set aside our political differences to have an honest conversation about cannabis: where we have been, where we are going, and what role government should properly play.”

Abbott has said that low-level cannabis possession “is not the type of violation” officials “want to stockpile jails with;” however, he did not press lawmakers to implement reforms during the session.

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