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Killeen City Council approves temporary pause on marijuana decriminalization ordinance

During the Midterm elections, 70% of Killeen voters approved the passing of Prop A, which would decriminalize low-level amounts of marijuana possession.

KILLEEN, Texas — The Killeen City Council voted Tuesday night to put a temporary pause on Proposition A, or the ordinance that would decriminalize low-levels of marijuana possession, until Dec. 6.

City councilmembers voted for the pause, or the moratorium, after they unanimously voted 6-0 to canvass the Midterm election result.

During the Midterm elections, 70% of voters approved Proposition A, which will require officers in Killeen to decriminalize misdemeanor marijuana possession, which is less than 4 ounces. Police will also be prevented from using the odor of marijuana as probable cause for a search and seizure. 

City councilmembers hope the pause will help bring more clarity on what the ordinance would entail, including impacts, as well as allow more discussion.

Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble says he's pleased that the city council decided to put a pause on Prop A for now to iron out the details and make an informed decision.

"I'm really proud of our counselors because it showed that they wanted to make sure they get this right," Kimble said. "Because this is an issue that affects everyone in our community because I believe between now and December 6 working with our council, I think we're gonna get it right for the citizens."

The city council also consulted with a legal team in order to get a better understanding of the ordinance. 

Some of the community who spoke Wednesday night expressed confusion and a desire for better understanding of how the city can enforce the ordinance even though marijuana is illegal in the state.

David Bass, the founder of Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana says the people have spoken. Regardless of the legality of marijuana, the ordinance says what it says and the council should reflect the majority with their decision.

"What I know is that the people of Killeen voted overwhelmingly for our police to stop arresting people for small amounts of cannabis," Bass said. "We should listen to the will of the people of Killeen."

Bass says he is frustrated by the city council's decision to put a hold on Prop A until Dec. 6.

Killeen City Council Member Riakos Adams says he and the rest of city council felt it was truly the right decision on Wednesday night.

"Going in this direction was good," Adams said. "I thought it was necessary for us to take the time to review it later because as you could see in the meeting, we were going around in a circle. And that we would not have done the right thing."

Adams says the right thing is to adhere to the interests of voters while also ensuing law enforcement can carry out the ordinance effectively.

The council had the option to repeal, amend or pass the ordinance tonight and chose to hold off instead.

Adams says the energy of those in support of Prop A is useful in Killeen, but that energy is needed in Austin to make real change as well.

"Take this same energy to Austin, and something big could happen. We need this kind of energy on all kinds of topics, but to make real change, we need this energy here and at the capitol."

Stay with 6 News as this story develops.

Watch the City Council meeting below:

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