Police in Killeen, Texas have released 77% of individuals they have come in contact with who were in possession of cannabis following the voter approval of a local decriminalization measure last November, the Killeen Daily Herald reports. Police Chief Charles Kimble said officers had contacted 188 individuals who “had some sort of marijuana on them” since the passage of the law.
Of those 188 people, 146 were released “because it fell within the guidelines” of the voter-approved ordinance, while 42 people were arrested. Those that were released did have their cannabis seized.
“In our policy … we are going to follow the law. We want to make this city safe by removing some of the worst violators off the streets of Killeen, and we think we are doing that even in the confines of this ordinance. This policy does not hamper that.” — Kimble via the Daily Herald
Under the ordinance, police are not supposed to arrest anyone they find in possession of 4 ounces or less of cannabis. The measure was approved by nearly 70% of Killeen voters. In December, Kileen councilmembers amended the law to prevent city police officers from using the odor of cannabis as probable cause for search and seizure, the report says.
Kimble presented the data during his first Marijuana Enforcement Ordinance Implementation Report, which included information from November 9, 2022, through February 28, 2023.
County Commissioner Louie Minor said during Kimble’s presentation that the ordinance is doing what officials had hoped but said he would like future reports on the law’s implementation to include data on the race and age of those possessing cannabis when contacted by police and the result of that interaction.
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