Aggressive Criminal

Are cities that have decriminalized marijuana violating Texas law?

On Behalf of | Drug crimes |

Texas has some of the strongest laws concerning marijuana in the country. Even though it has become legal for recreational purposes in other states, possession of any amount of marijuana without the appropriate authorization to use it for medical purposes is illegal at the state level.

In recent years, voters in five Texas cities (Austin, Killeen, Elgin, Denton and San Marcos) approved local ordinances that decriminalize the possession of under four ounces of marijuana. That means the laws that are on the books won’t be enforced against anyone found with that amount or less, provided that they are found in possession within the borders of these cities.

Why is behind AG Paxton’s lawsuit announcement?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is not happy with this select decriminalization, which he says is a violation of state law as well as the Texas Constitution. He said that he “will not stand idly by as cities run by pro-crime extremists deliberately violate Texas law and promote the use of illicit drugs that harm our communities.”

The AG’s action calls into question the concept in the state constitution of “home rule.” Certain Texas cities – including those five – are home-rule cities. The constitution allows them to adopt their own laws and local ordinances as long as they don’t allow anything that is “expressly forbidden” under Texas and/or federal law. Since the decriminalization they’ve authorized is contradictory to state law, Paxton believes he has grounds for challenging these local ordinances.

Another city proceeds with efforts to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

That pending legal action hasn’t stopped people in another city, Lubbock, from working to gather enough signatures to get a similar initiative on the ballot. If it makes it to the ballot, it would be voted on in May, even though Lubbock’s mayor has come out against the policy shift, using the same argument that it contradicts state law.

It can be difficult to keep up with where the law stands on marijuana. As such, it’s wise to be careful about how much you have on you and how openly you use it. People do have rights against illegal searches and seizures by police, however, and it’s important to understand your rights, regardless of where you are. Finally, if you find yourself charged with any drug-related offense, it’s a good idea to get legal guidance as soon as possible to protect your rights and present your case as effectively as possible.