5 Texas Cities Sued by Ken Paxton that Decriminalized Marijuana

Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, is fighting Austin, San Marcos, Killeen, Elgin, and Denton to stop their laws from making small amounts of marijuana less illegal.

Voters in the five cities passed laws in 2022 that said people with less than four ounces of marijuana would no longer be arrested or given tickets for having it. Ground Game Texas, the progressive group that first put forward the proposition in Austin, led an effort that worked with local groups in the other four towns to get similar policies on the ballots.

In a press release on Wednesday, Paxton said that the towns broke state laws and the Texas constitution when they passed ordinances that went against laws made by the Texas Legislature. These ordinances were about marijuana possession and distribution.

A lot of people agreed with the laws. Austin got a huge 85% of the votes cast in his favor. In San Marcos, 82% of the votes were in favor. Elgin came in second, with almost 75% of the votes. There were about 71% votes in favor in Denton, which is home to two colleges. About 70% of people backed Killeen.

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The five places are home-rule cities, which means that the Texas constitution lets them make any law or ordinance they want, unless state or federal law says otherwise. Paxton, on the other hand, says that the Texas Local Government Code doesn’t let them make rules that would mean drug laws aren’t fully enforced. Paxton wants to get rid of the city’s rules and make them follow state law instead.

The governor said, “I will not stand idly by as cities run by pro-crime extremists break Texas law on purpose and encourage drug use that hurts our communities.” A city of Austin spokeswoman said that the city would have something to say on Thursday. We tried calling the other four cities’ officials but couldn’t get through to them Wednesday night.

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