Texas' Bell County sues over Killeen's cannabis decriminalization ballot measure

This appears to be the first lawsuit over Texas' recent ballot initiatives calling for marijuana decriminalization.

click to enlarge An ordinance adopted by the city of Killeen would remove criminal penalties for small amounts of pot. - UnSplash / Hakuna Matata
UnSplash / Hakuna Matata
An ordinance adopted by the city of Killeen would remove criminal penalties for small amounts of pot.
Looks like it may take a court battle to settle whether residents of the Central Texas city of Killeen will be able to enjoy the decriminalization of weed that they voted for in November.

Commissioners for Bell County late last month voted unanimously to file a lawsuit against Killeen over the city's adoption of a ballot measure that would lift criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis, the Killeen Daily Herald reports.

Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza told the paper that the city's ordinance raises questions about what happens when a local ballot initiative conflicts with state law.

“The county commissioners voted to direct the county attorney and [me] to get involved in the beginning to get that question answered,” Garza told the Daily Herald. “That is the only way to get it into court to begin a legal action.”

Although voters in five Texas cities voted during the midterms to decriminalize cannabis, local officials in three of those have either dug in their heels or paused implementation. Initially, Killeen's city council pushed back a vote to implement its ordinance, saying it needed more time to review the legal implications.

However,  this is the first lawsuit arising from those disputes, the Daily Herald reports.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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