Tensions are high between police, advocates and elected officials in a small Texas city. In Denton, Texas, police, sworn to protect and serve, are said to have defied the will of the people and continue to cit and arrest them despite last year’s approval of cannabis decriminalization measures. .
NBC DFW report “There’s a battle going on” in the city over who controls how cannabis laws are enforced, he said.
according to special presentation With a three-month report by Denton City Manager Sarah Hensley at a city council session on Tuesday, Police in city not adhering to voter-approved decriminalization measures It passed last November and is citing and arresting people for low-level cannabis possession anyway.
Denton voters during the Nov. 5, 2022 midterm elections approved Proposition B received over 70% of the vote to decriminalize possession of 4 ounces or less of cannabis, with a few exceptions. It also bans police from using sniff tests for any probable cause and limits city funds from being used for his THC drug tests. Proposition B went into effect November 22, once the election ballot was complete.
According to the mayor Denton City Police Department It’s acting as if the proposal never passed, arresting and citing people for low-level cannabis possession. It was explained that
Denton City Council members Vicki Byrd and Brandon Chase McGee asked why the law isn’t being followed. City Councilman Byrd said, “Even after 32,000 voters dictate otherwise, the nation knows that no one like you is empowered to make public policy.” Can you explain to the people ofMayor Protem Brian Beck also calledasks a similar question.
The mayor replied that city law cannot override Texas law because the police are sworn to the state.
Considering the work that Decriminalize Denton put into getting Proposition B to the ballot and spreading awareness, it’s something of a slap in the face for cannabis advocates in the region.
“By continuing to make citations and arrests for possession of misdemeanor amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia, Denton’s police department and city administrators will continue to do so, even after an overwhelming majority of Denton voters passed ordinances banning the practice. , is waging an authoritarian rebellion against payroll voters and taxpayers, said Deb Armintor, president of Decriminalize Denton. high times in a statement.
“These publicly funded rioters are joined by disgraced councilors Jesse Davis, Chris Watts and Mayor Gerald Hadspeth. , chose to support the bureaucrats who abuse these powers.
“For allies across the country to email these trustees and bureaucrats to let them know what the world is watching and that they are on the wrong side of history, to those of us here in Denton who are making the world a better place. would mean.”
The Denton Police Department issued a statement last November when Proposition B went into effect.
“As a forward-thinking agency, possession of marijuana has never been the Denton Police Department’s only priority.” Said Denton Police Chief Doug Shoemaker. “This will continue to happen. That said, police officers must maintain discretion to protect our communities from harm. Such conduct cannot and cannot be ignored when combined with other crimes affecting public safety, including
But the Denton Police Department added this press release:
“The Police Department will continue to evaluate aspects of this ordinance passed by voters to determine what to do. in May It must be implemented according to both current law and the voice of the people we serve. ”
Of the 65 Denton Police Department arrests for possession of less than 4 ounces of cannabis between June 2021 and July 2022. Note, however, that 15 of these charges were attached to other charges not related to cannabis, and 31 involved weapons.
After Austin previously decriminalized cannabis, Denton joined San Marcos, Killeen, Elgin and Harker Heights in Texas to overwhelmingly approve a local ballot proposal to decriminalize low-level possession. . Other cities seem to have no problem enforcing these measures.
How the police continue to enforce the law in the city remains a matter of debate.