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Denton Will Vote On Partial Marijuana Decriminalization

Proposition B would stop citations for possessing small amounts of marijuana
Photo: Strela Studio | Shutterstock

This fall, lots of choices are on the ballot. Voters get a chance to pick the governor and legislators. But in Denton, they also get to decide the fate of the decriminalization of marijuana.

As noted by Decriminalize Denton, Proposition B will be on the November ballot, and residents of the city will be able to vote on the issue. The proposition would be a directive for police and lawmakers to follow. 

Proposition B would eliminate all citations and arrests for possession of misdemeanor amounts of marijuana, prevent police from giving citations for possession of drug paraphernalia, prohibit police from using the odor of marijuana as probable cause for search and seizure, save law enforcement resources and ban costly THC testing. 

The initiative was part of a two-step process to bring the proposition into effect. The first was the collection of “valid petition signatures” to qualify for a spot on the ballot, which Denton residents did. Decriminalize Denton received 3,000 signatures from Denton residents. The second part of the plan is to actually vote in the election by voting “yes” for Proposition B. Now, the rest is up to Denton residents. 

But not all residents are happy about the idea of the decriminalization of marijuana. Former Colorado resident and current Denton Police Chief Doug Shoemaker brought up concerns regarding the proposition. On October 13, Shoemaker told the Denton Record-Chronicle that new challenges and problems would arise if the proposition passed. 

“The big challenge and very realistic challenge is some ramifications of that ordinance, particularly in terms of investigation — if you detect the scent of marijuana, being able to investigate further,” Shoemaker said. “There are some pretty strong restrictions on that that might be very problematic.

The proposition differentiates from Texas state laws which criminalize recreational marijuana use and have set rules for police to follow, similar to Denton's current laws.