‘This is not decriminalization’: Austin City Council makes changes to marijuana possession resolution

Marijuana, Pot Plant_119586

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Wednesday, a resolution that may affect marijuana possession arrests and charges in Austin got some last-minute changes.

On Wednesday afternoon, Austin City Council member Leslie Pool released a revised version of a previous resolution. The changes reflect concerns that the ordinance was too ambiguous as to which cases it would impact.

Under the new resolution, Austin police would be directed to “deprioritize” misdemeanor marijuana possession.

MORE: Austin poised to ‘deprioritize’ low-level marijuana possession

“This is not decriminalization,” said Austin City Council member Jimmy Flannigan. “We are not decriminalizing marijuana today. That is a conversation for another day — and frankly, another building. I hope our colleagues up the street, up Congress Avenue, take this up in the next legislative session.”

Council members say they don’t want to waste resources on testing “personal use” amounts of marijuana because prosecutors are not prosecuting those cases anyway.

The reason?

Lab testing for THC levels is now needed after lawmakers legalized hemp and set a new legal standard. This lab testing is expensive.

Additionally, police are still writing tickets for cases that are not being prosecuted.

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