Austin City Council approves marijuana decriminalization for public vote in May

Law enforcement organizations in some large Texas cities have adopted cite-and-release policies for small quantities of pot, but a new Austin ballot initiative would take the decriminalization a step further. - UNSPLASH / SHARON MCCUTCHEAON
UnSplash / Sharon McCutcheaon
Law enforcement organizations in some large Texas cities have adopted cite-and-release policies for small quantities of pot, but a new Austin ballot initiative would take the decriminalization a step further.

Austin City Council voted 7-3 Tuesday to place an activist-led marijuana decriminalization initiative on that city's May 7 ballot, news site Marijuana Moment reports.


Voter mobilization group Ground Game Texas launched a signature drive in November to put the issue directly to Austin voters. The council had the option of passing an ordinance to decriminalize possession of small quantities of weed but instead chose to let local residents decide, according to Marijuana Moment.

Law enforcement organizations in Austin, San Antonio and other large Texas cities have recently shifted from jailing offenders caught with small quantities of pot to issuing citations. However, Austin's ballot initiative would go a step further by codifying decriminalization in that city.

Ground Game Texas turned in some 33,000 signatures to get its measure on the ballot, according to the Marijuana Moment report. That's 10,000 more than required under city ordinance.

Last week, Ground Game Texas launched a similar campaign in the Central Texas town of Killeen.  

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