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Killeen City Council votes to put marijuana ordinance on hold, set to discuss in December

Marijuana Legalization
Posted at 6:37 AM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 07:37:52-05

KILLEEN, Texas — After voters passed a proposition to effectively de-criminalize marijuana in Killeen, the city council passed a motion to put the ordinance on hold until a later meeting.

The council is set to re-visit the ordinance at a meeting on Dec. 6. They will decide whether to repeal, amend or allow the ordinance as passed on Election Day.

The moratorium comes after a 5-to-1 vote, with mayor pro tem Ken Wilkerson objecting, favoring to instead allow the ordinance to remain in place.

The ordinance, known as 'Proposition A' during the general election, would stop Killeen police from issuing citations and arrests for low-level marijuana offenses. It would not, however, stop other law enforcement agencies from doing so.

The proposition passed with 68% of voters in support of the measure on Nov. 8.

Hesitation remains among council members about the legality of the ordinance and how to implement it, as marijuana possession remains illegal statewide and federally.

Another concern raised by councilman and former mayor Jose Segarra is a section of the ordinance that prohibits police from using the smell of marijuana as probable cause for a search or seizure. Segarra proposed amending the ordinance to eliminate the section.

Killeen police chief, Charles Kimble, applauded the council's decision to take more time to decide a proper course of action. Kimble disagrees with the ordinance's punishment of officers for following state law.

Kimble also said the ability to use the odor of marijuana as probable cause is crucial in some drug trafficking arrests.

"As long as we have that tool in our toolbox, we can hopefully still fight crime effectively," Kimble told reporters.

Voters in support of the proposition, like David Bass of Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana, left upset with the council's decision.

"The people of Killeen made their will very clear," Bass said. "Tonight, the council put a moratorium on the will of the people."