The Austin City Council on Tuesday approved a proposal to put an activist-led initiative to decriminalize marijuana on the local ballot in May. Ground Game Texas successfully collected enough signatures to place the reform on the Austin ballot. The council had a chance to adopt it as an ordinance on its own without putting the issue to voters—which the advocates said they would have preferred—but lawmakers chose instead to simply authorize the initiative for the ballot. The proposal passed in a 7-3 vote. It was just this month that city officials certified petitions for the ballot initiative. Activists turned in more than 33,000 signatures for the measure—about 10,000 more than required to qualify for the May 7 election. On the same day of the local certification, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said that he doesn’t believe people should be incarcerated over low-level marijuana possession. While Austin, as well as other Texas cities like Dallas, have already independently enacted law enforcement policy changes aimed at reducing arrests for cannabis-related offenses by issuing citations and summons, the ordinance adopted by the council would go a step further. The measure seeks to end arrests and citations for misdemeanor marijuana possession within Texas’s capital city.

Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 01/18/2022 11:55:00

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