Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Anti-Cannabis Crusade

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has recently launched a series of lawsuits against five cities in Texas: Austin, San Marcos, Killeen, Elgin, and Denton. These lawsuits are centered around the cities’ adoption of policies that Paxton argues violate Texas laws concerning the possession and distribution of marijuana.

The Lawsuits
The cities named in the lawsuits have adopted amnesty and non-prosecution policies that instruct police not to enforce Texas drug laws concerning the possession and distribution of marijuana. These policies were approved by voters in 20222. Paxton argues that these policies are inconsistent with laws enacted by the Texas Legislature.

According to the Texas Local Government Code, it is forbidden for any political subdivision to adopt a policy under which the entity will not fully enforce laws relating to drugs. Furthermore, the Texas Constitution states that it is unlawful for municipalities to adopt ordinances that are inconsistent with the laws enacted by the Texas Legislature.

Paxton’s Stance
Paxton has been vocal about his stance on the issue, stating, "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". He argues that the actions taken by these municipalities demonstrate why Texas must have a law to 'follow the law’.

Paxton remains committed to maintaining law and order in Texas when cities violate the lawful statutes designed to protect the public from crime, drugs, and violence. He continues to seek accountability for the rogue district attorneys whose abuse of prosecutorial discretion has contributed to a deadly national crimewave.

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The Cities’ Response
The cities named in the lawsuits 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.

The ordinances had high levels of support. Austin received an overwhelming 85% of votes in support. In San Marcos, about 82% of votes were in favor. Elgin followed with almost 75% of votes in support. Denton, home to two universities, had about 71% votes in favor. Killeen had close to 70% in support.

As of now, the cities are yet to issue a formal response to the lawsuits.

The lawsuits launched by Attorney General Ken Paxton against the five Texas cities mark a significant development in the ongoing debate over marijuana legalization and decriminalization. As the legal battle unfolds, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the broader conversation around drug enforcement and policy reform in Texas and across the United States.

sources texasattorneygeneral.gov texastribune.org houstonchronicle.com