You are here
Home > News > Five Cities in Texas Approve Decriminalization Initiatives on Ballot

Five Cities in Texas Approve Decriminalization Initiatives on Ballot

Ground Game Texas helped to pass this initiative. This advocacy group targeted five specific cities in Texas specifically for the election. It has been active in campaigns in Austin and El Paso as well as San Antonio. “Big night for Ground Game! We are all looking for ways to decriminalize marijuana in five cities. Motivating new voters with popular, progressive issues!” the organization wrote on Facebook.

Denton was given Proposition B. The other four cities used Proposition A to refer to their respective initiatives. They each establish an ordinance, rather than a resolution, to eliminate all citations or arrests related to cannabis-related possession. It also prevents local police from issuing drug paraphernalia and cannabis smell citations. The city can also ban THC testing funds from being used, among other modifications.

Jax James (Executive Director of Texas NORML) stated that the latest wave of voter approval shows Texasans want statewide cannabis decriminalization. “Texans have shown that they want major cannabis law reforms in Texas via polling, legislative engagement, and now at the local ballot box!” James said. “This will have a positive impact on the almost half a million people living in these cities.” A poll in August also confirmed James’s statement, showing that 55% of Texans support cannabis legalization, and 72% support medical cannabis.

In 2019, the Texas House approved a cannabis decriminalization bill, but it didn’t make it through the Senate. James praises Texas’ decriminalization wins on November ballot but would like to see further progress in his state. “While these local advancements are important in mitigating harm on citizens and reprioritizing law enforcement time, they result in a patchwork of differing marijuana enforcement policies based on location,” James added. “It is time for lawmakers to take steps to enact statewide reform when they convene in January 2023.”

Texas’ top five cities are Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. Fort Worth is in fifth place. In May 2022, voters in Austin approved the “Austin Freedom Act,” which also enabled decriminalized cannabis. “It’s official! Austin will hold a May 7th 2022 election to approve the Austin Freedom Act. Voters will be able to pass a new city law that (1) ends enforcement of marijuana possession and (2) bans dangerous ‘no knock’ warrants. Thank you to everyone who got us this far—now let’s win!” Ground Game Texas wrote on social media in May.

The next stop could be San Antonio. This city might put decriminalization onto the May 2023 ballot. “These are all things that, for whatever reason, the city government hasn’t accomplished even though there’s public demand for them,” said Ground Game Texas co-founder and political director Mike Siegel. “That’s the beauty of this direct democracy tactic—the initiative tactic—where we can take something that’s popular with the people and the people can legislate directly.”

While states like Missouri and Maryland legalized adult-use cannabis in November 2018, voters in Arkansas, South Dakota and North Dakota did not. With the possible exception of Washington, D.C. and Virginia, few other southern states permit adult-use.

Texas is still behind the curve in terms of progress. In August 2022 Iman Shumpert, a former NBA player was arrested in Dallas for possessing cannabis. He was carrying around 6.2 ounces cannabis with him when he traveled through Dallas airport.

Recent news media picked up on a story about Candace McCarty (a single mother) who was forced from her federally-assisted housing in order to use medical marijuana. “I thought it was all legal, because I obtained it legally from the state,” McCarty told “I’m just a single mom on disability, and I’m just trying to make it … facing homelessness right before the holidays.” The federally illegal status of cannabis affects countless others like McCarty.