In a memo to the Mayor and Council Members, Austin Police Department’s Chief Manley lays out how the 2007 Cite and Summons bill, in conjunction with the 2019 Texas Hemp Program, paved the way for Austin City Council to pass a resolution that restricted city funds or city personnel from being used to create THC testing protocol and directed APD to stop citing or arresting personal possession of marijuana. After several delays due to the pandemic, the memo states that APD has now revised their enforcement policies and have a plan for training and public notification.
APD will no longer cite or arrest individuals with sufficient identification for Class A or Class B misdemeanor “possession of marijuana” offenses, unless there is an immediate threat to a person’s safety or doing so as part of the investigation of a high priority, felony-level narcotics case or the investigation of a violent felony.
“This is an important step forward for Austin. The City used the powers of the purse to pressure APD to do what is best for Austin, no longer waste taxpayers’ funds on these victimless crimes that have a disparately impacted communities of color. I hope this is the first step of many that will bring justice to Austin,” says Jax Finkel, Executive Director of Texas NORML.
“Although the Police Chief should have made this change the day after City Council passed my resolution directing this back in January, it finally happened today because of continued community advocacy. This victory is only a small step compared to the much more transformational change that we must make this summer to our City’s budget and policing practices. Keep organizing!” said Council Member Greg Casar.
Texas NORML was proud to work alongside many local organizations to help push forward this important resolution. Learn more about it here.