In November, a majority of voters in Denton, Texas, approved a bill to decriminalize low-level cannabis crime. On Tuesday, city leaders disputed those results.
The Denton City Council voted 4 to 3 “against adopting an ordinance to decriminalize marijuana.” CBS News Texas reported.
According to the bureau, “more than 30 people spoke out before the vote, including several Denton police officers, who said the marijuana possession case would lead to an investigation and help combat illegal firearms and gang activity.” It says.
“However, proponents of marijuana use argue that marijuana is harmless and has legitimate therapeutic applications for both clinical symptoms and the stresses of modern life,” the agency reported.
According to CBS News Texas, after the vote, Mayor Denton said, “Police officers still have the discretion not to prosecute or arrest marijuana possession, but supporters want the more certainty of not being prosecuted.” claimed.
Tuesday’s vote marks a dramatic reversal from the November election, when more than 70% of Denton voters approved a bill to decriminalize cannabis misdemeanors.
The ordinance was put to a vote after being voted on by the Denton City Council last summer.
of Cross Timbers GazetteA local newspaper reported in November that under the new ordinance, “Denton police officers will no longer issue tickets or arrest people for possession of a small amount of pot or utensils, and will stop anyone who smells cannabis or We will no longer commit violence.” ”
The paper later reported that “the new ordinance does not apply when Denton police are investigating serious crimes, nor does it apply to state and federal agencies, or to the jurisdictions of Texas Women’s University and the University of North Texas.” rice field.
But there were early signs of cracks in the enforcement of the ordinance.
during February NBC DFW reported During the work session, Denton city administrators said they “submitted a report outlining the reasons why the ordinance is difficult to enforce.”
City administrator Sarah Hensley said at the time, the news station reported: “We acknowledge what voters have said and we understand it, but due to state law and the dispute, we cannot I don’t have the authority to do that.” .
Hensley argued in the report that the new ordinance “will replace the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which requires police officers to enforce state law.”
The bureau said, “Texas cities and police departments are ‘prohibited from adopting policies that do not fully enforce state and federal drug laws,’ and ‘city administrators and police chiefs may direct otherwise.’ You can’t,'” the station reported.
According to NBC DFW, Hensley said he “has no authority to direct the chief of police not to enforce the law.”
Texas legislators recently said they want to change the state’s cannabis laws.
In March, the Texas House Criminal Law Committee voted 9-0 in favor of a bill to decriminalize small-scale cannabis possession.
“I have traveled with this. said at the hearing. “There are tens of thousands of arrests for personal use possession in Texas each year, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars each year, not to mention countless hours of law enforcement and prosecutors. Tagging people, mostly young people, with a criminal record that results in lifelong disability to work, education, housing, and other opportunities, is a terrible investment, with terrible consequences no matter how you cut it. ”