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Caldwell County Dems Endorse Lockhart Freedom Act Campaign

Led by Mano Amiga & Ground Game Texas!

RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE LOCKHART FREEDOM ACT

WHEREAS, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1325, known as the “right-to-farm legislation,” to aid Texas and Caldwell County agriculture by creating a program to support the cultivation of drought-resistant hemp; and

 

WHEREAS, House Bill 1325 also makes it virtually impossible to distinguish, beyond a reasonable doubt, between plant forms of marijuana and hemp without a lab test to measure THC concentration; and

 

WHEREAS, the limited testing resources available from the State of Texas have made prosecuting cannabis-related substance possession so time-consuming and expensive that prosecutors around the state are declining to prosecute misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges; and

 

WHEREAS, despite this inability to prosecute, police departments continue to cite and arrest people, particularly people of color, for possession of marijuana; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Lockhart is responsible for determining how to utilize its local law enforcement resources to best address issues of public safety; and

 

WHEREAS, Lockhart, as a home-rule city, has a right to autonomy and to exercise local control through ordinances that address local priorities without unwelcome state interference; and

 

WHEREAS, the city should ensure that all community members are treated fairly and equitably in the enforcement of laws; and

 

WHEREAS, even short periods of incarceration are strongly correlated with higher rates of new criminal activity; when held as few as 2 or 3 days, low-risk defendants are almost 40 percent more likely to commit new crimes before trial than defendants held for fewer than 24 hours; and

 

WHEREAS, the criminalization of marijuana has led to the mass incarceration of individuals, disproportionately affecting communities of color and perpetuating social injustices; and

 

WHEREAS, the continued arrest and citation by the Lockhart Police Department for low-level marijuana offenses that prosecutors are unable to prosecute results in a drain of both City and County resources, and may cause a significant burden upon the resident who is being arrested or cited, while also creating confusion and mistrust among the larger community; and

 

WHEREAS, the enforcement of marijuana prohibition has resulted in the allocation of substantial resources from law enforcement and judicial systems, diverting attention and funding away from more pressing public safety concerns; and

 

WHEREAS, numerous studies have shown that marijuana possesses potential medicinal benefits, including pain relief, nausea reduction, and treatment for various medical conditions; and

 

WHEREAS, jurisdictions that have implemented decriminalization or legalization measures have not experienced the predicted negative consequences, such as increased crime rates or youth usage; and

WHEREAS, high-priority marijuana cases, such as felony-level marijuana trafficking cases may be pursued for prosecution by testing evidence for THC concentration levels in these cases, without expending resources on low-level marijuana possession cases; and

 

WHEREAS, the State of Texas should establish a taxation and licensing structure for marijuana and fund critical needs, prioritizing the communities most affected by the failed war on drugs;

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Caldwell County Democratic Party fervently supports the petition to amend the City Charter of Lockhart to deprioritize enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses.

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