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San Marcos voters successfully decriminalize marijuana but it’s still unlawful, find out why

SAN MARCOS, Texas — After amassing a petition of greater than 11,000 signatures, nonprofit Mano Amiga Action was in a position to take a marijuana decriminalization ordinance to the San Marcos City Council. 

The council then voted to place the measure on the poll and let voters resolve. 

By the time the Nov. 8 election was completed, 81 % of voters supported the ordinance in a landslide win. More than 15,600 individuals voted in favor. 

On November 17, the ordinance will go into impact for San Marcos and can “decriminalize” possession of lower than 4 ounces of marijuana per metropolis ordinance. 

Mano Amiga Action coordinator Elle Cross advised Kens 5 the achievement represented practically a year of labor. 

“It was a really thrilling moment for us,” Cross stated. “We had dozens of volunteers working seven days a week in the Texas heat. It was such a relief and such an inspiring moment for our city.”

And but, on the identical time, possession of marijuana will proceed to be unlawful within the metropolis and will doubtlessly get individuals charged with a criminal offense. 

How does that make sense? Keep studying. 

The ordinance instructs police to not make arrests for particular state crimes. The starting of the San Marcos ordinance states:

 “(a) San Marcos law enforcement officials shall not difficulty citations or make arrests for Class A or Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana offenses, besides within the restricted circumstances described in (b).

(b) The solely circumstances through which San Marcos law enforcement officials are permitted to difficulty citations or make arrests for Class A or Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana are when such citations arrests are a part of (1) the investigation of a felony stage narcotics case that has been designated as a excessive precedence investigation by an San Marcos police commander, assistant chief of police, or chief of police, and/or (2) the investigation of a violent felony.” 

It additional states {that a} San Marcos policed officer might seize marijuana from and particular person, but they need to then proper an in depth report and launch the person if possession of marijuana is the only real cost.

What the ordinance means for you

First, the ordinance solely applies to San Marcos Police officers. It doesn’t apply to another legislation enforcement performing in or outdoors the City of San Marcos. 

This means a person may still be arrested by a Hays County sheriff deputy, a DPS state trooper, a Texas State University police officer, the Texas Wildlife Commission, or another company which may be within the space. 

Second, the ordinance solely applies to possession of marijuana of 4 ounces or much less.  According to Texas legislation “a Class A misdemeanor” possession cost is for 4 ounces or much less of the managed substance, which is the best cost listed that officers can not arrest for within the ordinance. Possessing greater than that quantity could possibly be a felony and would still get an individual arrested. Possessing marijuana with “intent to deliver” to a different particular person may also be a felony so distributing or promoting marijuana is probably going not protected.  

Third, if an individual’s possession of marijuana case reached the Hays County District Attorneys office, the DA would still have the choice to press prices no matter the place the case got here from. This could be true even when the case was despatched by the San Marcos Police Department in violation of the ordinance. 

Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau advised Kens 5 Wednesday merely being inside metropolis limits will not be a assure that utilizing marijuana might be protected. 

“Any of these instances, which may occur within the metropolis limits of San Marcos could possibly be introduced to the DA’s office and the DA’s office would deal with them in the way in which as another felony offense. 

The silver lining

Mau additionally advised Kens 5 {that a} district legal professional did have the choice to resolve to not prosecute such instances. At the identical time, Mau didn’t search re-election and voters have now elected Kelly Higgins who’s supportive of the decriminalization of marijuana motion. 

In truth, Higgins stated the next on Facebook, on September 22:

“I have said I will not use the resources of Hays County to pursue charges against simple possession of marijuana in Hays County. It costs us ten million dollars a year and gives us nothing but a charade of being tough. Add to that the fact that 70% of Texans, and an even higher percentage of Hays County residents, think marijuana prohibition is just plain wrong. Every judge knows it. Every prosecutor knows it. We have all known it for decades. And now our young people have made it plain they know it too.”

if Higgins doesn’t pursue such prices, Hays county residents would have extra freedom to make use of small quantities of marijuana with much less concern. Still, residents would proceed to threat prosecution with future officers until the Texas Legislature modifications state legislation concerning using marijuana.

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