WeedWorthy News Network

Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife Social Network. Join at https://WeedLife.com
3 minutes reading time (697 words)

Austin, Texas cannabis decriminalization initiative set for ballot in May


The Austin Freedom Act of 2021 also aims to ban dangerous ‘no knock’ warrants.

Officials in Austin, Texas have officially given the green light to a cannabis decriminalization initiative now set to appear in an upcoming ballot. On January 18, the Austin City Council in Texas voted to allow the ballot initiative known as the “Austin Freedom Act of 2021” on the upcoming special election on May 7. The Act will stop local law enforcement from convicting residents of low-level cannabis offenses, and will prohibit “no knock” warrants by police as well.

The initiative is supported by an organization called Ground Game Texas (GGT).

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of the on-the-ground organizers from Ground Game Texas and partner organizations, Austin residents will soon have the ability to make lasting change to our antiquated and racist criminal justice laws,” said Ground Game Texas Political Director Mike Siegel when the organization first received approval from the City Clerk in December 2021.

“With successful campaigns like these, Ground Game Texas will continue to empower and excite communities around progressive change—and deliver for the marginalized communities that too often get left behind.”

The group collected 33,332 signatures, although only 20,000 was necessary. State law requires that 25 percent of randomly selected signatures needs to be verified, which came up to 8,334 of the signatures. Of those, 2,455 were disqualified (due to duplicates, missing signature or other reasons), but the remaining 5,879 passed the test.

Further celebration was in order when GGT received news that their petition was approved on January 10, followed by the city council’s approval on January 18.

“It’s official! Austin will hold an election May 7, 2022 on the Austin Freedom Act. Voters will be able to pass a new city law that (1) ends enforcement of marijuana possession and (2) bans dangerous ‘no knock’ warrants. Thank you to everyone who got us this far—now let’s win!” the organization wrote on Twitter. GGT also proceeded to share information on how local advocates can volunteer their time to support the cause as it begins to fight for decriminalization in other cities across Texas.
The Austin Police Department originally announced the end of cannabis convictions back in 2020, stating that citations would only be given “unless there is an immediate threat to a person’s safety or doing so is part of the investigation of a high priority, felony-level narcotics case or the investigation of a violent felony,” according to KVUE. The Austin Freedom Act of 2021 makes decriminalization official, stating that if passed by voters, Class A or Class B possession offenses would not be issued by law enforcement unless the situation involves a high priority “felony level narcotics case” or “investigation of a violent felony.”
Furthermore, if passed, the Act would ban “no knock” warrants. “’No knock’ search warrants shall not be used. No Austin police officer may request, execute, or participate in the execution of any search warrant that does not require the officer to knock and announce their presence and wait at least 15 seconds prior to execution.”
Only medical cannabis is legal in the state of Texas. The medical cannabis program was recently updated in July 2021 when Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1535 into law. This expanded to include post-traumatic stress disorder and all types of cancer as qualifying conditions to register in the state’s medical cannabis program. It also raised the THC limitation from 0.5 percent THC to “one percent by dry weight.”
Recently, the topic of smokable hemp reached the Texas Supreme Court in early January, which effectively challenged the ban. Presiding judge Lora Livingston ruled that banning smokable hemp is unconstitutional, and issued a permanent injunction preventing the Texas Department of Health Services from enforcing it.
e-mail icon Facebook icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon Reddit icon
Rate this article: 
Select ratingGive Austin, Texas cannabis decriminalization initiative set for ballot in May 1/5Give Austin, Texas cannabis decriminalization initiative set for ballot in May 2/5Give Austin, Texas cannabis decriminalization initiative set for ballot in May 3/5Give Austin, Texas cannabis decriminalization initiative set for ballot in May 4/5Give Austin, Texas cannabis decriminalization initiative set for ballot in May 5/5
Authored By: 
Article category: 
Regional Marijuana News: 


© 420 Intel

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

New York predicts $1.25 billion in pot tax revenue...
4 things to know about Delta-8-THC, the new cannab...

Related Posts