San Antonio activists launch petition to decriminalize marijuana, ban police choke holds

The petition needs at least 20,000 signatures by January to get the proposed charter amendments on the May 2023 ballot.

click to enlarge Act 4 SA Executive Director Ananda Tomas speaks during a rally at City Hall. - Michael Karlis
Michael Karlis
Act 4 SA Executive Director Ananda Tomas speaks during a rally at City Hall.
San Antonio activists rallied in front of City Hall Tuesday to launch a petition that could allow voters decide whether to decriminalize marijuana and abortion along with outlawing police choke holds and no-knock warrants.

Alamo City-based police reform group Act 4 SA and its partners want to let local voters decide whether to amend San Antonio's City Charter with those changes during the May 2023 general election.

“This policy is not only morally just, it is fiscally responsible and will allow us to shift the tax dollars that we so desperately need ... to lift the community out of poverty, doing more to answer the root causes of crime than simply arresting the problem away,” Act 4 SA Executive Director Ananda Tomas said during the rally.

Organizers need at least 20,000 signatures to get their “justice charter” revisions onto the ballot for the city’s May 2023 general election. Tomas and others are aiming for 35,000, however, since some signatures are likely to be invalidated during the city's review process.

Activists want to force the city to prioritize citations rather than jail as as a way to deal with low-level, non-violent offenders. That change would allow more resources to go towards programs like mental health services while keeping impoverished people from caught in a cycle of incarceration, they argue.

Organizers will host a launch celebration for the petition this Saturday at Southtown's Friendly Spot, 943 S. Alamo St. During the event, which will run 5:30-7:30 p.m., those registered to vote in the city can sign the petition.

“I really think that we’re gonna get it on the ballot and get it on the ballot quickly,” Tomas said.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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