5 Texas Cities Sued Over Lax Marijuana Policies

(ConservativeInsider.org) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has initiated legal action against five Texas cities—Austin, San Marcos, Elgin, Denton, and Killeen—challenging their marijuana amnesty and non-prosecution policies. The lawsuits, filed on Wednesday, January 31, allege that these cities are violating state law and promoting the use of “an illicit substance” linked to negative consequences.

Paxton contends that the city ordinances conflict with both Texas statutes and the state constitution. According to him, these ordinances impede the enforcement of state marijuana laws. He specifically references a section of the Local Government Code that prohibits political subdivisions from disregarding drug laws. Additionally, he points to Article 9, Section 5 of the Constitution, which forbids municipalities from enacting ordinances that contradict state legislation.

In a statement, Paxton declared his commitment to upholding state law and criticized the leadership of the cities. He labeled them “pro-crime extremists,” deliberately violating the law and promoting harmful drugs. He emphasized the importance of following established laws and opposed the idea of cities choosing which laws to enforce.

The specific ordinances in each city differ, but they share some common ground. Most notably, they restrict city funds and personnel from participating in testing suspected marijuana seized by police, with limited exceptions. Additionally, some cities, like Austin, have policies directing police to refrain from arresting or citing individuals for marijuana possession unless it’s linked to more serious offenses.

San Marcos declined to comment, while other cities haven’t responded yet. Austin, a Democrat-led city, faces specific criticism for its Proposition A, which further limits marijuana enforcement and prohibits THC testing, except in certain situations.

It’s important to note that Austin, Denton, San Marcos, Killeen, and Elgin are “home-rule” cities. This designation grants them broad self-governing powers, meaning they don’t need state legislative approval for local ordinances. Paxton’s challenge hinges on arguing that their marijuana policies specifically contradict overarching state law and the constitution despite their home-rule status.

This legal action follows a California court ruling where a woman who stabbed her boyfriend to death and attempted suicide while high on marijuana avoided prison time due to alleged pot-induced psychosis. While unrelated, this case might add substance to Paxton’s argument about marijuana’s harmful effects.

Interestingly, the lawsuits were filed a day after the Texas Supreme Court temporarily halted Paxton’s scheduled testimony in a whistleblower lawsuit related to his 2023 impeachment charges.

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