Lubbock could be the largest city in Texas to decriminalize marijuana thanks to a movement that is gaining more support as advocates fight for their rights, reports the Texas Tribune.
Lubbock Compact is a local advocacy group that aims to make Lubbock a safe place for marijuana consumption.
The Group initiated the Freedom Act Lubbock petition in August, aiming to gather signatures from registered voters. They are approaching their goal, with nearly 6,000 signatures collected out of the required 4,800 or 7,500 in case some signatures are ineligible. If successful, the city council will have to vote on the proposed decriminalization, and if rejected, it could appear on the 2024 ballot for public judgment.
The campaign highlights disparities in marijuana-related arrests, showing that Black and Latino residents are disproportionately affected. Adam Hernandez, communications chair for Lubbock Compact, said that decriminalizing marijuana would help more than 260,000 people in the city.
Decriminalization could lead to updated law enforcement training while keeping intact how police handle juveniles found in possession of marijuana. The movement is not limited to Lubbock, as residents in nearby cities express interest in replicating the effort in their towns.
“The decriminalizing movement is only going to continue to grow until we get marijuana legalized, which is what the majority of Texans want,” said Giselle Ramirez, a volunteer for Lubbock Compact.