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Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting begins Oct. 24 and runs until Nov. 4.

Decriminalizing pot will be on the ballot in San Marcos this election. Here's what you need to know.

Marijuana and a lighter on a kitchen counter.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT

San Marcos residents are voting on whether to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana this election.

Mano Amiga, a local criminal justice reform group, collected enough valid signatures on a petition to get the measure on the ballot.

The group worked with Ground Game Texas, a voter engagement and mobilization organization that spearheaded similar campaigns all across Texas this year.

Ground Game Texas was also behind the ballot measure in Austin to decriminalize weed and ban no-knock warrants, which voters passed earlier this year.

So what does the ordinance say?

San Marcos police officers won’t be able to issue citations or make arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The exception to that rule applies only if officers are already investigating someone for felony-level drug use or violent crimes.

San Marcos police officers won’t be able to issue a citation for possession of marijuana if they find just marijuana residue or a pipe. They also won’t be able to use the smell of marijuana as probable cause for a search.

The city manager will be required to host public meetings to discuss best practices of the ordinance. The city manager will also have to invite people from communities who have been directly impacted by marijuana arrests to these meetings.

If the ordinance passes, the city manager will also have to present a report to the city council every three months on how the ordinance is being enforced.

Anything else that would be good to know?

The ordinance applies only to the San Marcos Police Department. So it doesn't apply to the Texas State University Police Department or to the Sheriff's Department.

The ordinance applies only to misdemeanor possessions of marijuana, which is about 4 ounces or less. One ounce of marijuana is roughly the size of a softball.

Early voting starts on Oct. 24 and runs until Nov. 4. Election Day is on Nov. 8.

Riane Roldan is the Hays County reporter for KUT, focusing on the costs and benefits of suburban growth. Got a tip? Email her at rroldan@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @RianeRoldan.
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