Judge Dismisses Texas Lawsuit Challenging Voter-Backed Local Cannabis Reforms

A Texas judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to nullify voter-approved local cannabis decriminalization ordinances in Austin, Denton, Elgin, Killeen, and San Marcos.

Full story after the jump.

A Texas district court judge last week dismissed a lawsuit brought by state Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to nullify voter-approved cannabis decriminalization ordinances in five cities, the Austin American-Statesman reports. In her dismissal – which was with prejudice, meaning the lawsuit cannot be refiled – Judge Jan Soifer said, essentially, there was no reason to proceed with a trial.

“Having considered the pleadings, responses, as well as the arguments of legal counsel and applicable law, the Court is of the opinion that the Defendants’ plea to dismiss the case.” — Soifer, in the ruling, via the American Statesman

Paxton’s lawsuit sought to strike down cannabis possession reforms approved by voters in Austin, Denton, Elgin, Killeen, and San Marcos. 

In an unsigned statement, the city of Austin said the dismissal allows law enforcement to “prioritize resources to focus on critical public safety issues, rather than low-level marijuana possession.” 

“At its core, the ordinance does exactly that,” the statement says, “without removing reasonable discretion from police officers to enforce the law.” 

Amy Kamp, spokeswoman for Ground Game Texas, which led the ballot efforts to put the question to voters, said the organization expects an appeal from the state.

“For now, we’re thrilled that the policy remains in force, and will remain in force throughout any potential appellate process,” she told the American-Statesman. “In the meantime, we’ll be continuing to support the other cities who are defending suits by Paxton and building our movement across Texas.” 

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