Numerous local candidates joined the groups on the grounds of Texas State University as they worked to convince college students to vote.

SAN MARCOS, TX – Mano Amiga Action and Ground Game Texas launched its “get out the vote” campaign for City of San Marcos Proposition A, the ballot issue that would legalise marijuana, on Monday afternoon. It will appear on the November ballot for San Marcos voters to decide.

Numerous local candidates joined the groups on the grounds of Texas State University as they worked to convince college students to vote.

The ballot item seeks for the abolition of enforcement for those caught with 4 ounces or less of marijuana. Because of a 2020 legislation that Mano Amiga worked for, San Marcos police may only issue tickets for marijuana, not arrests. This ballot issue would prohibit arrests and citations for low-level marijuana crimes in November 2022.

“They still have to get their mugshots and fingerprints taken, and they have a criminal record,” said Elle Cross, Mano Amiga’s access to justice coordinator.

Proposition A would also prohibit San Marcos police from using the scent of marijuana as probable reason for a search.

“We feel they should not be allowed to exploit the scent of marijuana to find more and more charges to put on to someone who is simply trying to get through their day,” Cross said.

However, Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau has reservations about this aspect of the proposed legislation.

“When enforcing marijuana laws, police frequently find additional evidence of more serious offences, and such cases will not be revealed in this circumstance,” stated District Attorney Mau.

The ballot proposition indicates that the marijuana arrest would be exempt if it was tied to a serious criminal or felony drug offence.

According to District Attorney Mau, this solely pertains to San Marcos police, and other agencies may continue to ticket and jail people for these infractions.

“In principle, only officers from the San Marcos Police Department would be banned from implementing those statutes,” Mau explained. “Every other law enforcement agency in the county would be.”

He also stated that San Marcos police officers took an oath to respect state law, which does outlaw marijuana in Texas.

“I suspect the cops are going to have some problem deciding how far they’re going to let this go before they just decide they’re going to have to break this code,” Mau added.

While some County leaders feel this is a difficult legal problem, Mano Amiga members believe it will drive people to the polls in November.

“Young folks are really concerned about getting this passed,” Cross remarked. “As a result, we anticipate an unprecedented attendance of young people.”

The groups claimed in June that they had gathered enough signatures to secure a ballot measure to decriminalise marijuana in the city of San Marcos. The city clerk confirmed those signatures in July, and the city council has now certified them as well.

Organizers claimed to have manually validated over 4,600 distinct signatures. According to the City Charter, just 4,182 votes are necessary, which is 10% of San Marcos’ registered voters.

According to the group, after gathering over 11,000 signatures from people, just 4,667 of their voting registrations were current. The organisations stated they are now trying to assist any petition signee who is not registered in San Marcos with updating their registration and navigating the procedure.

“Access to information is a significant obstacle to civic involvement,” said Sam Benavides, Mano Amiga’s communications director. “We witnessed an exceptionally low verification rate throughout the signature-gathering phase of this campaign.” Many individuals are unaware that they must renew their voter registration every time they move, even if they remain in the same city. And it’s usual for students to change apartments every year.”

To people who supported the ballot issue, the organisation supplied literature, yard signs, stickers, and rally signs.

“This campaign has a fantastic chance to register thousands of new voters and, more importantly, to persuade those new people to vote this November,” said Mike Siegel, political director for Ground Game Texas. “San Marcos may surprise many people if a record number of students show out to support Prop. A and legalise marijuana.”

A similar ballot measure was recently successful in Austin, with voters voting to approve it. No-knock warrants were likewise prohibited under the Austin plan.