Denton votes to decriminalize small amounts marijuana

It appears voters in Denton made the decision to decriminalize marijuana.

Proposition B earned more the 70 percent of the vote with more than half of the city's precincts reporting.

According to Proposition B the measure will:

  • Direct Denton police to not issue citations or make arrests for under two ounces of marijuana, except in cases involving felony level narcotics or a violent felony
  • Get rid of citations for drug paraphernalia or reside
  • Ban city funds from being used on THC testing
  • Stop police from using the smell of marijuana as probable cause for search or seizure

You can read the full text of the proposition here.

Proposition B made the ballot after more than 3,000 people signed a petition from Decriminalize Denton.

Voters on both sides of the issue spoke ahead of the election..  

"I know people who are in jail for marijuana right now, but it’s million-dollar industry, so that’s my stand on it," voter Zachary Holmes said.

"I don’t think it should be a crime, no I don’t," voter Sharon Kimbrough said. "You’ve never seen a person on pot, no matter how high they get, cause a problem only. Only meth, fentanyl, stuff like that."

"I didn’t vote for it. I voted against it," voter Bob Richards said.

[REPORTER: "You don’t think any amount should be lawful?"]

"That’s right, drugs are bad," Richards added.

The group Decriminalize Denton got more than 3,000 signatures to put the ordinance on the ballot, though only 1,700 were required.

"We’re doing this honestly because it’s a justice issue. Black, brown, and white residents all use cannabis at the same rates, but despite that fact, it’s Black and brown residents that are disproportionately incarcerated in the city of Denton. That’s got to stop," said Nick Stevens, with Decriminalize Denton.

Stevens said the Decriminalize Denton movement has worked hard to educate Denton voters, and pre-election polling has leaned in its favor.

"Young voter turnout is through the roof in Denton. I feel very good about celebrating tonight at 7 p.m.," Stevens added.

READ MORE: Which states put marijuana on the ballot in 2022?

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke, who called for marijuana to be legalized statewide, expressed his support for Proposition B during a stop in Denton this October.

"This is the right thing to do," O'Rourke said. "I'm really proud of Denton for taking the lead on this issue."

Conversation around the ordinance led to large crowds at Denton City Council meetings throughout the year.

Races to Watch:

Both TWU and UNT have their own police departments that will not be subject to the new rules.

Marijuana is federally illegal and in the state of Texas. But cities in Texas with more than 5,000 residents have the ability to operate under their own city charters. 

Back in May, Austin became the first Texas city to approve a local ballot measure to decriminalize marijuana possession.