Texas sues 5 cities, including Denton, over marijuana policies

Texas sues 5 cities, including Denton, over marijuana policies
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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed lawsuits against 5 Texas cities for policies regarding marijuana possession and distribution.

The lawsuits were filed by the State of Texas against Denton, Austin, San Marcos, Killeen and Elgin. The cities have adopted amnesty and non-prosecution policies about marijuana.

Paxton argues the policies violate Texas law.

"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," said Attorney General Paxton in a statement.

The lawsuits point to section 370.003 of the Texas Local Government Code, which says "the governing body of a municipality [or a] municipal police department … may not adopt a policy under which the entity will not fully enforce laws relating to drugs" and the Texas Constitution, which says cities with more than 5,000 residents cannot pass any ordinance inconsistent with the state's Constitution.

Each lawsuit named the mayors and several officials in each city.

Denton's Proposition B, a referendum to end citations and arrest for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, overwhelmingly passed in November 2022.

READ MORE: Denton votes to decriminalize small amounts marijuana

The lawsuit calls for a trial where Denton could be ordered to repeal the ordinance and fully enforce state drug laws.

In a news release announcing the lawsuits, Paxton said he will continue to seek accountability for the "rogue district attorneys" who opt not to prosecute certain crimes.