Texas Takes Legal Action Over Marijuana Decriminalization in 5 of Its Cities

Attorney General Ken Paxton says the cities of Austin, San Marcos, Killeen, Elgin, and Denton have violated local government codes.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched a raft of lawsuits against Austin, San Marcos, Killeen, Elgin, and Denton over their decriminalization of marijuana, also known as Cannabis.

In a Jan. 31 press release, Mr. Paxton said he has taken legal action because the cities in question have adopted “amnesty and non-prosecution policies that violate Texas laws concerning marijuana possession and distribution.”
According to Mr. Paxton, the Texas Local Government Code forbids any political subdivision from adopting a policy under which the entity will not fully enforce drug laws.

He also cited a section of the Texas Constitution that says it’s unlawful for municipalities to adopt ordinances inconsistent with the laws enacted by the Texas Legislature.

“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,” Mr. Paxton said.

“This unconstitutional action by municipalities demonstrates why Texas must have a law to ‘follow the law.’ 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.”

Chronic Marijuana Use Linked to Psychosis

Mr. Paxton says legal action has been taken against the five Texas cities because marijuana is an illicit substance that psychologists have increasingly linked to psychosis and other negative consequences.

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A 2014 scholarly article published by the United States National Library of Medicine suggests that is indeed the case. According to the data, Cannabis is involved in approximately 50 percent of psychosis and schizophrenia cases.

However, it was also noted that the exact neurobiological process through which the effects of psychosis occur is not well understood.

A 2023 study published in the journal Psychological Medicine came to similar conclusions. According to the findings, up to 30 percent of schizophrenia cases among men aged 21 to 30 are related to heavy and problematic use of marijuana. Researchers also found around 15 percent of cases of schizophrenia in men aged 16 to 49 might have been avoided had they not used the drug.

At the same time, moderate cannabis use for medical purposes has been found to have benefits.

A 2017 review of more than 10,000 scientific studies found that while Cannabis use does have negative health effects in some cases, it is effective at relieving chronic pain, helping with sleep disorders and reducing nerve pain.

The drug has also been found to be effective in helping people with alcohol or opioid dependencies treat their addictions.

A 2022 Canadian study found a distinct correlation between medicinal cannabis use and a reduction in alcohol use.

Illegal in Texas Cities

None of the Texas cities being sued by the state has legalized cannabis or allowed it to be bought and sold openly.

They did pass ordinances directing police and prosecutors to set a low priority on pressing charges against people caught with small amounts of the drug, though.

Austin was among the first in 2020 when a city council resolution directed the police not to press charges against anyone caught with four or fewer ounces of marijuana.

In November 2022, voters in the other cities being sued by Mr. Paxton approved ballot measures to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

A sixth Texas city, Harker Heights, dropped its decriminalization ordinance only two weeks after voters passed it. In a 2022 letter announcing the decision, the city manager said the responsibility to decriminalize cannabis rested with the state.

As of 2024, recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in 24 states and three U.S. territories. Seven other states have decriminalized its use.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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