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San Marcos could become next T...

San Marcos could become next Texas city to decriminalize marijuana

San Marcos could become the next Texas city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. During a September 10 press conference in front of the San Marcos Public Library downtown, members from nonprofit Mano Amiga and Vera Institute of Justice outlined the initiative.

Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is considered a “citation eligible offense” in San Marcos, meaning that the person won’t be arrested on the spot, but instead issued a citation to turn themselves into Hays County at a later date.

“San Marcos is the only city in the whole state of Texas where under the force of city law, officers are compelled to issue a citation in lieu of immediately arresting you for these offenses,” said Eric Martinez, policy director of Mano Amiga, during the event. 

Still, Martinez added, the citation puts people in the “petri dish that is the Hays County jail.” 

According to numbers from the Vera Institute of Justice, roughly one in 10 bookings into the Hays County jail is for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Nearly one of four of those bookings has no other charge, noted Sarah Minion, an outreach associate with the institute, during the conference.

“Hispanic communities, Latinx communities, and Black communities [are] over criminalized for citation-eligible offenses, which include possession of cannabis, petty theft, graffiti, things of this sort,” Martinez added. 

According to KUT, Mano Amiga will officially launch a petition in the spring to get the measure on the November 2022 ballot. The group needs signatures from at least 10 percent of registered voters, and the signatures have to be approved by the city clerk, before it can go in front of the voters.