Texas’ Attorney General has filed lawsuits against five cities for implementing laws to decriminalise cannabis use and possession.
Ken Paxton announced earlier this week that Austin, Killeen, Elgin, Denton, and San Marcos, all cities within the state of Texas, have imposed policies preventing law enforcement from arresting citizens for possessing small amounts of cannabis.
In a press release published on the Attorney General’s website on Wednesday (January 31), Mr Paxton called cannabis an ‘illicit substance that psychologists have increasingly linked to psychosis and other negative consequences.’
“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 continued.
“This unconstitutional action by municipalities demonstrates why Texas must have a law to ‘follow the law.’ It’s quite simple: the legislature passes every law after a full debate on the issues, and we don’t allow cities the ability to create anarchy by picking and choosing the laws they enforce.”
Speaking to The Dallas Observer, Julie Oliver, the Executive Director of Ground Game Texas, the organization that has been key to the decriminalization efforts across the state, said: “Ken Paxton’s lawsuits represent an antidemocratic assault on the constitutional authority of Texas Home Rule cities to set local law enforcement priorities.
“Furthermore, Paxton’s slander of so-called ‘pro crime’ organizations that support marijuana reform policies is profoundly ironic coming from a person who is under criminal indictment for securities fraud, under federal investigation for other financial crimes, and has admitted to violating the civil rights of whistleblowers within his own office.”
Mr Paxton is currently facing state securities fraud charges and has previously faced allegations of personal corruption.