GOP Attor­ney Gen­er­al In Texas Sues Five Cities To Stop Voter-Approved Mar­i­jua­na Reform, Says They’re ‘Run By Pro-Crime Extremists’

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office announced on Wednesday that it had sued Denton, Austin, Elgin, Killeen and San Marcos “for adopting amnesty and non-prosecution policies that violate Texas laws.”

In a statement included in the AG’s news release, Paxton described the cities as being run by criminal extremists.

“I will not stand idly by as cities run by pro-crime extremists deliberately violate Texas law and promote the use of illicit drugs that harm our communities,” said Paxton.

“This unconstitutional action by municipalities demonstrates why Texas must have a law to ‘follow the law,’” Paxton said, reported CBS Austin. “It’s quite simple: the legislature passes every law after a full debate on the issues, and we don’t allow cities the ability to create anarchy by picking and choosing the laws they enforce.”

In November 2022, Denton voters approved Proposition B, a city ordinance aimed at decriminalizing cannabis. The proposition passed with 71% of voters in favor. By August 2023, the four other Texas cities joined the cannabis decriminalization drive.

The proposition amended the city code to end citations and arrests for misdemeanor offenses for possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana unless there were other crimes associated with the investigation of other felony offenses.

Members of multiple law enforcement groups had spoken out against the proposition. Shortly after the measure was passed, Denton City Manager Sara Hensley shared a memo expressing concern about the proposition being in “direct conflict” with state law.

In its court filing, AG Paxton’s office asked for a judge to order the halt of changes to Denton’s city ordinance made by Proposition B and argued that the city of Denton “may not adopt a policy under which the entity will not fully enforce” state and federal drug laws.

“Further, the Texas Constitution notes that it is unlawful for municipalities to adopt ordinances that are inconsistent with the laws enacted by the Texas Legislature,” according to the press release.

The attorney general’s office made similar arguments for the other four cities that were sued for local ordinances related to marijuana.

A Denton spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News city officials are “aware of the Attorney General’s lawsuit and subsequent news release,” but declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Photo: El Planteo