After six months of gathering signatures for their petition, a group wanting to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession is scheduled to speak with the Killeen City Council on Tuesday with a goal to get the measure on the city ballot in November.
It will be the first time the council will be presented by the group and its petition, which aims to pass a city ordinance requiring Killeen police officers to ignore marijuana possession cases of less than 2 ounces — which remains illegal at the state and federal levels. The issue also raises questions on how such a city law would jive with — or flat out contradict — a state law that has been on the books for decades. And it may put sworn Killeen Police Department officers in an awkward spot: Enforce the Texas law or turn a blind eye to that sack of weed?
The group of local politicians includes Killeen businessman Louie Minor and Harker Heights resident Stacey Wilson, who are running for spots on the Bell County Commissioners Court; Shirley Fleming, a former Killeen mayor pro tem; and Julie Oliver, an Austin-based activist who ran for Congress in 2020.
The Killeen effort is part of a greater push by Oliver’s organization, Ground Game Texas, to decriminalize marijuana statewide. The organization was able to get a similar item on the Austin ballot in May, where it passed overwhelmingly by voters.
Minor, Fleming, and Oliver have been working on the petition since 2020 and were holding calls over Zoom due to the pandemic. The group held their first press conference in January.
“We were reached out by Killeen NAACP that there was an organization that was interested in getting this on the ballot here in Killeen,” said Minor, a Democrat. “That’s when we were introduced to Julie, Mike Siegal, and Ben. They explained why they felt this was important for the citizens of Killeen. And after that public records request, something needed to change.” [Read More @ Killeen Daily Herald]
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