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Voters in Dallas Could Decide on Cannabis Decriminalization in November

Voters in Dallas may have the opportunity to decide whether the state should decriminalize marijuana in small quantities in November. This is if members of the city council approve a plan to place a resolution on this year’s ballot.

Chad West, a council member, recently revealed that he would be proposing the Dallas Freedom Act later this month. Organizers revealed that a petition in favor of the change has received more than 50,000 signatures.

West stated that voters in the city and the country at large wanted to decriminalize cannabis, explaining that law enforcement was already burdened and needed to focus on serious crimes instead of arresting individuals with small amounts of cannabis. Putting the resolution before voters via a city-council-proposed amendment instead of a petition would save the city resources as well as time.

In a news release, Ground Game Texas’ executive director, Catina Voellinger, stated that the amendment would remedy historic discrimination, reform cannabis enforcement, end cannabis criminalization and save millions in public funds.

Ground Game Texas collected the signatures for the petition.

The resolution would direct the police force to stop making arrests or writing tickets for possession of under four ounces of cannabis. Currently, possessing two to four ounces is classified as a class A misdemeanor that can result in a one-year jail term. On the other hand, possessing less than two ounces is classified as a class B misdemeanor and attracts a 180-day sentence.

Similar proposals have been approved in other Texas cities, including Killeen, Austin, Denton, San Marcos, Elgin and Harker Heights. If voters approve, Dallas would become the biggest city in Texas to dodge state laws that ban the recreational use of cannabis.

Texas is one of 26 states around the nation that haven’t fully legalized cannabis. Adam Bazaldua, a Dallas Council member, revealed that he had advocated for such an initiative to be implemented for the last four years, noting that jails were filled with predominantly Black and Brown individuals serving sentences for a drug that was making others millions in more than 30 states countrywide. Bazaldua asserted that the time had come to take action against this injustice.

Recent polls show that most Texans are in favor of cannabis decriminalization. Despite this, there isn’t much hope for a law that favors decriminalization or complete legalization while conservatives are still leading the state.

The growing trend of local authorities becoming impatient with state and federal legislators and opting to pass local measures reforming marijuana regulations is something that industry actors such as SNDL Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL) could be watching closely because it could eventually trigger larger reforms at a national level.

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