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Texas cities vote to decriminalize marijuana

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | Criminal Law |

Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Texas, but the residents of some Texas cities voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. Austin voters approved a proposition to decriminalize possession in May of 2022, and San Marcos, Denton, Killeen, Elgin and Harker Heights approved similar propositions in the November 2022 election.

The results mirror efforts around the country to decriminalize the substance.

What the propositions do

These propositions establish city ordinances that end arrests and citations for possession of fewer than four ounces of marijuana and associated drug paraphernalia. The new ordinances also mostly prohibit the use of city funds and employees for THC testing of suspected users.

State marijuana laws

Possession or sale of any amount of marijuana is still illegal in Texas. The penalties for cannabis possession vary depending on what the substance is, how much of it you have and whether you are near any minors. Selling or manufacturing cannabis carries separate penalties.

Marijuana is a group 2 substance under the Texas Controlled Substances Act. If you receive a conviction for possession of 2 ounces or less, you could face up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Cities that have legalized possession of small amounts of the drug can do so because they are home-rule cities. Home-rule cities can enact any ordinance that Texas law does not explicitly forbid.

Because marijuana possession is still illegal at the state and federal levels, residents of cities that have decriminalized the drug must be cautious if they choose to possess marijuana, particularly when traveling outside city limits.