Austin City Council Votes to Ban Low-Level Marijuana Arrests, Convictions
At the state level in Texas, low-level possession of cannabis is considered a criminal misdemeanor and is punishable by a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail. But, as Washington Blade reports, that will no longer be the case within the city limits of Austin, Texas. In a unanimous vote, the City Council of Austin has voted to prohibit any city department from spending funds to arrest or prosecute low-level cannabis possession offenses.
Jax Finkel, Executive Director of Texas NORML, is quoted in the article as saying, “This resolution prevents taxpayers’ funds from being wasted on enforcing this failed [marijuana] policy and refocuses monies where they belong, protecting our city from violent and property crimes.” And the amount saved could be substantial, considering Texas has one of the highest weed possession arrest rates in the nation, making over 60,000 cannabis possession arrests annually.