Texas capital

Voters Approve Marijuana Decriminalization, Ban No-Knock Warrants in Texas Capital

(Bloomberg) – Austin residents have voted to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession and ban police from using no-knock warrants, a victory for a liberal group that pushed the ballot initiative in the capital of Texas.

The measure received 85% support, according to unofficial results released Saturday by county election officials. The rules, which the city council must codify into law, prohibit police officers from issuing citations or arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana, except in very limited circumstances, and will require officers executing search warrants to announce their presence before entering the houses.

None of the changes represent a major departure from current policy. The Austin City Council passed a resolution in 2020 to end misdemeanor weed arrests and tickets, though it will now become law. Officials say police only execute a handful of no-knock warrants each year.

The results represent a success for Ground Game Texas, an Austin-based group that lobbied for progressive policies in the state and organized ballot measurement. Since no Democrat has been elected to a statewide position in Texas since 1994, the organization has focused on building voter enthusiasm for local issues.

It’s “an amazing first step in showing that progressives in Texas have the opportunity to win elections and increase voter engagement by addressing progressive issues,” said Mike Siegel, the group’s political director.

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