Killeen, Texas (KWTX) – Some central Texas voters are upset after two city councilors took action to repeal and shelve Proposition A, a measure that decriminalized marijuana up to four ounces.
Voters in Killeen and Harker Heights approved the measures at the ballot box on November 8. On Tuesday, November 22, the Killeen City Council voted to shelve the proposal, while the Harker Heights City Council voted to repeal it.
Voters approved voting measures that decriminalized possession of less than four ounces of marijuana for personal use and banned law enforcement officials from stopping someone for smelling of marijuana.
However, the ordinances did not legalize marijuana, merely preventing people from being arrested for possessing up to four ounces of the plant.
In Killeen, the ordinance will not go into effect until the city council can discuss it further. Until then, authorities will continue to enforce existing marijuana laws.
Louie Minor, the Bell County Precinct Four selectee, said there was a lot of confusion because voters did their part to get the ballot measure passed.
“It was something the citizens voted on, they requested and confirmed the vote, and it should go into effect,” Minor said.
Voters are asking why the council accepted a proposal to go to the vote if a rollback would occur.
“It should never have made it onto the ballot, but we had no choice,” said former Killeen mayor and current councilman Jose Segarra.
Segarra said the charter rules say if there is a petition on a measure and the council votes against it, it must go to the vote.
Segarra said the confusion was that the charter did not specify anything regarding actions that would violate applicable state law.
He said the charter will be revised in the future.
“It should have said, ‘Anything that is petitions that violates state law shouldn’t be put up for election,’ but since it didn’t say that, we didn’t have a choice,” Segarra said.
Harker Height City Council reversed voter-approved marijuana decriminalization ordinance. Harker Heights City Administrator David Mitchell said the city’s attorney advised the council to repeal any ordinances that conflict with current state law.
“What I would say to voters is that this fight is really going on at the state level. If they want to see changes related to laws related to marijuana or any other drug, they need to take this fight there,” Segarra said.
Minor said voters for the proposal were disappointed and wanted their voices heard.
“You mentioned recall. I know the citizens of Harker Heights and Killeen in particular are not happy,” Minor said.
Killeen City Council will meet again on December 6, 2022 to discuss.
Officials said they are trying to revise the language of the charter rules to avoid renewed confusion.
The update will take a year and a half.
Those who primarily campaigned for these proposals are pursuing legal action in both cities.
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