Denton discusses decriminalization of misdemeanor possession, but no vote put – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Denton city officials on Tuesday discussed the decriminalization of marijuana possession, but only two council members appeared to be ready to move forward with the idea.

Already, Denton’s policy on marijuana enforcement has eased compared to many cities.

People caught with a personal amount of marijuana by a Denton police officer are likely to receive an indictment similar to a speeding ticket.

There is no trip to jail.

And for offenders undergoing a lawsuit, their records can be deleted by paying a fine or performing community service.

But a city council member, Deb Armintor, wants to take it a step further and prevent police from issuing a quote at all.

“Cannabis is harmless,” Armintor said. “There are legal drugs that are much more harmful than cannabis, and cannabis laws are sometimes what is called the new Jim Crow. They are selectively enforced.”

Armintor convinced other council members to talk about the idea.

The conversation lasted for more than an hour.

Mayor Gerard Hudspeth made it clear that he is against any change.

He said he swore to uphold state law.

“So I can not in good faith ask for a decision to violate my office, so I can not support it for that reason either,” Hudspeth said.

Leaders of the fight to legalize marijuana say more cities are loosening enforcement policies, but they add that it creates new problems without legalization across the state.

“It creates a patchwork quilt, and it can be very confusing for people,” said Jax James, Texas executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, or NORML. “What you can go through a first-chance program for in Houston or a diversion program up in Denton, you would be arrested for in Amarillo.”

For now, several cities are writing their own rules.

And the question has become how much change is too much.

Armintor said she was disappointed that no more council members supported the idea at Tuesday’s meeting, but added that the fight continues.

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