Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing Denton and four other cities — Austin, San Marcos, Killeen, and Elgin — to block their ordinances decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession.
In 2022, voters in the five cities approved policies that would end arrests and citations for possession of less than four ounces of marijuana. An initiative spearheaded by Ground Game Texas — the progressive group that first launched the proposition in Austin — worked with local organizations in the other four cities and succeeded in pushing for similar policies to appear on the ballots.
Paxton said in a Wednesday press release that the cities violated state laws and the Texas constitution concerning marijuana possession and distribution, claiming it to be unlawful for municipalities to adopt ordinances inconsistent with laws enacted by the Texas Legislature.
The ordinances had a high level of support. Denton, home to two universities, had about 71% votes in favor.
The five cities are home-rule cities — jurisdictions that under the Texas constitution are allowed to establish any law or ordinance unless it’s expressly forbidden by state or federal law. However, Paxton argues the Texas Local Government Code forbids them from adopting policies that would result in not fully enforcing drug-related laws. Paxton is seeking to repeal the city’s ordinances and make them enforce state law.
“I will not stand idly by as cities run by pro-crime extremists deliberately…