Ground Game Texas, an Austin-based progressive non-profit organization has announced that they have secured enough signatures for the Austin Freedom Act of 2021, a ballot initiative which would decriminalize marijuana and ban no-knock warrants. The 30,000 signatures obtained by the group easily surpassed the 20,000 signature threshold.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of on-the-ground organizers from Ground Game Texas and partner organizations, Austin residents will soon have the ability to make lasting change to our antiquated and racist criminal justice laws,” said Mike Siegel, Political Director of Ground Game Texas, in a statement posted to Twitter. “With successful campaigns like these, Ground Game Texas will continue to empower and excite communities around progressive change – and deliver for the marginalized communities that too often get left behind.”
Julie Oliver, Executive Director of Ground Game Texas, praised organizers and staff following the announcement. “This is huge news, a significant milestone for us in building long-term progressive organizing infrastructure to last beyond electoral cycles in TX,.” Oliver wrote on Twitter. “Tremendously grateful to the organizers, volunteers, and staff who made this possible. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!”
Recent polls show Texans overwhelmingly support some form of marijuana legalization. According to a March 2021 UT/TT poll, 60 percent of Texans support legalizing marijuana, while 28 percent support legalizing it for medical purposes. Compared to only 13 percent of Texans who support keeping marijuana illegal.
If the ballot initiative succeeds, which seems likely given the polling numbers, it could serve as a blueprint for other Texas cities looking to reform their criminal justice priorities. Austin voters will have the opportunity to vote on this ballot initiative in the May 2022 election.