KILIN, Texas (KWTX) – Voters in the central Texas cities of Killeen and Harker Heights voted Tuesday on Proposition A, a ballot measure that would make it illegal to possess less than four ounces of marijuana for personal use and prevent law enforcement officers from stopping someone for smelling the drug. to do
The ordinance does not legalize marijuana in cities, but simply prevents people from being arrested for possession of up to four ounces of the plant.
On Tuesday night, voters in Killeen voted 69% to 31% in favor of the proposal. In Harker Heights, voters voted 64% to 36% in favor of the proposal.
Killeen City Councilman Jose Segarra voted against the proposal when it was brought up at the city council meeting. He told KWTX that he’s not opposed to the criminalization of marijuana, but the section that prevents officers from searching based on probable cause.
“The real problem I have with Prop A is that they have a section in there and basically, it prohibits our police officers from using the smell and the smell of marijuana as probable cause to search.” the former KWTX mayor said in a recent interview.
More than a thousand people arrested for possession of marijuana in Killeen are also charged with other crimes, Segarra said. According to him, 621 people who were stopped and searched for suspected marijuana had other illegal drugs, 269 people had illegal weapons, 183 people had illegal warrants and 97 people had illegal weapons.
Louie Minor, who supported the proposal and created the “Make Killing Illegal” Facebook page to share information about the ballot proposal, argued that it aims to protect youth and minorities by keeping them out of prison.
WATCH: LUIE MINOR discusses PROPOSAL A with NEWS 10’s ALEX FULTON:
“I did an open records request and found that 92% of the marijuana arrests in the city of Killeen are people of color,” Minor said.
Those arrests can stay on people’s records for life, Minor said, and affect their ability to get a good job, a good education and even housing.
KWTX spoke with a retired Army colonel who says that with Fort Hood near Killeen, passage of Proposition A could have a negative impact on the Army post.
“I don’t believe it’s a positive effort, and I’m saying that from this point of view, Fort Hood in Texas will generate $28.9 billion in economic output. In the future, when the Department of Defense looks for places to deploy new missions , new units or any potential redevelopment and base closures, they evaluate bases on a lot of criteria and one of them is quality of life, and I don’t think this proposal will have a positive impact on that quality of life indicator,” Keith said. Sledd, executive director of the Texas Defense Coalition.
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