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Dallas Moves Towards Marijuana Decriminalization: What You Need to Know

Dallas could be the biggest Texas city to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, as Ground Game Texas, a social justice advocacy nonprofit, has submitted a petition to put the measure to a vote in November.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Ground Game Texas had delivered nearly 50,000 signatures to Dallas City Hall, far exceeding the 20,000 needed from registered voters to consider the proposal. The initiative aims to amend the city charter to prevent police from citing or arresting individuals for possessing up to 4 ounces of marijuana.

“We believe we’ll have enough signatures, and we believe it will pass,” said Amy Kamp, spokesperson for Ground Game Texas. “And we believe, when it passes, that we’ll see a change in policies that really respects people, prevents them from being unfairly targeted for simple possession of marijuana and allows for public resources to be put to better use.”

Dallas City Council members are also pushing for marijuana decriminalization.

City Council Member Chad West told the News that he believed Dallas voters will support the measure.

“I have no doubt that (Ground Game Texas) collected at least 20,000 signatures that are valid,” he said. “They’re going to get this on the ballot regardless; we might as well greatly reduce the amount of staff time we have to spend on this and the city secretary’s office ratifying the petitions.”

Currently, possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Possession of 2 to 4 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

However, Black residents have been disproportionately affected by the laws. 57 percent of the people arrested in Dallas for possessing less than 2 ounces of Marijuana are Black residents, despite being only 24 percent of the population.

In response to these disparities, Police Chief Eddie García in 2021 directed officers to issue citations rather than make arrests for small amounts of marijuana. A follow-up report in 2023 noted a decrease in arrests but highlighted that Black individuals still constituted the majority of those arrested.

Ground Game Texas has also successfully supported similar measures in Austin, Denton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen and San Marcos. Despite pushing for marijuana decriminalization in San Antonio and Lubbock, voters rejected the measure.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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