Paxton targets Texas cities over marijuana decriminalization policies

The attorney general is suing five cities, saying their ordinances are inconsistent with the state’s laws.

By Wells Dunbar & Raul AlonzoFebruary 2, 2024 3:10 pm, , ,

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued five Texas cities – Austin, Elgin, Denton, San Marcos and Killeen – over ordinances decriminalizing marijuana the cities approved in 2022.

Paxton said the ordinances violated Texas laws, labelling officials who run the cities as “pro-crime extremists.”

Matthew Watkins, managing editor for news and politics at the Texas Tribune, said the move seems part of an initiative within the state GOP targeting municipalities who implement policies outside the scope of Texas law.

“You know, I would say that there is a push within the Republican Party among conservatives to kind of go against what they view as kind of rogue cities or rogue prosecutors. Areas that they say are, you know, ignoring the law for their own kind of political goals,” Watkins said.

The ordinances, which lowered penalties for possessing certain amounts of marijuana, received high levels of support in each of the cities when they passed.

“Basically, you know, you’re not going to get arrested,” Watkins said. “You might get a ticket. ‘We’re not going to enforce low level marijuana possession.'”

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