Texas Activists Sue City That Refuses to Reform Cannabis Laws Despite Ballot Measure Approval

Activists in Texas are suing the city of Harker Heights for failing to reform its local cannabis laws after voters approved decriminalization changes in 2022.

Full story after the jump.

Activists in Texas are suing the city of Harker Heights for failing to reform its cannabis laws after voters approved the changes in 2022, KCEN TV reports. The group, Ground Game Texas, has been behind several successful ballot initiatives in Texas towns and cities that have led to local cannabis law reforms.

In an interview with KCEN, Julie Oliver, executive director for Ground Game Texas said the lawsuit “is about enforcing the will of the voters.”

“Harker Heights officials are undermining local democracy by disregarding the clear language of the city charter. Whatever policy disagreements the city manager or city clerk might have with the voters who approved Proposition A, it’s not the job of city staff to ignore the result of a lawful initiative election. We attempted to negotiate with the city manager and city attorney, but they ignored our attempts. Now we are fighting for the rights of Harker Heights voters in Bell County District Court.”

— Oliver, to KCEN

Harker Heights Assistant City Manager Jerry Bark told KCEN that the city was “not notified of such a lawsuit.”

“We will send it to our legal counsel for review once we receive the documents,” he said. “As of right now, the city has no comment on the lawsuit.”

In 2022, voters in five Texas cities, including Harker Heights, approved ballot initiatives, backed by Ground Game Texas, to end enforcement of low-level cannabis possession crimes. Last March police in Killeen indicated that, following the voter approval of the measure, they had released 77% of the individuals they encountered who possessed cannabis. 

Charles Kimble said the cannabis decriminalization ordinance “does not hamper” the ability of law enforcement to remove “some of the worst violators off the streets.”

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