San Antonio, TX City Charter Amendment Vote to Decriminalize Abortion & Marijuana

A ballot measure included in the May 6, 2023 San Antonio municipal election will ask San Antonian’s if they want to decriminalize abortion within city limits and in order to drive attendance to this commonly neglected San Antonio election, the charter amendment also seeks to decriminalize marijuana.

The target of this charter amendment, referred to as “The Justice Charter,” is to decriminalize abortion, but adds the virtue signal of “police reform” and the momentum of marijuana decriminalization to put it in a justice reform proposition that essentially confuses voters. The city charter amendment contains other items of interest, including decriminalizing marijuana within San Antonio city limits. Ballotpedia wrote about it in a February 2023 article:

If approved by voters, the charter amendment would:

  • end enforcement of low-level marijuana possession (Class A or B misdemeanor offenses)
  • prohibit San Antonio police officers from investigating or making arrests for abortions, as well as prohibit them from enforcing any state law that criminalizes abortion
  • ban no-knock warrants by law enforcement
  • ban chokeholds by law enforcement
  • use citations instead of arrests for low-level nonviolent crimes

The measure would also provide for the City Council to appoint a Justice Director. The role of Justice Director would include reducing incarceration and mitigating law enforcement practices. The Justice Director, who would report directly to the city council, cannot have worked in law enforcement or have significant financial investments in the law enforcement industry.

San Antonio charter amendment regarding abortion, marijuana, and police actions has enough signatures for the May 6 ballot -Ballotpedia, February 13, 2023

While this charter amendment is related to functions of police officers in San Antonio, to this writer it’s pretty obvious the San Antonio political elite and their Democrat and RINO allies are dangling the marijuana decriminalization carrot in front of the people to drive the city of San Antonio charter amendment that also decriminalizes abortion.

San Antonians, Call Your City Councilmen and the Mayor and tell them you do not agree with this city charter amendment being considered for the municipal elections on May 6, 2023. Tell them you will not vote for it and you’ll tell your family and friends not to vote for it.

Furthermore, this charter apparently gives the reigns of law enforcement over to San Antonio’s woke City Council. The newly created office of the Justice Director, a position with the job of “reducing incarceration and mitigating law enforcement practices” will be appointed by and report to the City Council. This is a step away from what is on a ballot measure in Travis County for their upcoming election that creates an “Office of Police Oversight.” What other authorities will be extended to this Justice Director?

There is debate about whether this ballot measure is lawful. According to Ballotpedia, the San Antonio Police Officers Association opposes the amendment on grounds that it violates the Texas Constitution. Article 11, Section 5 of the Texas Constitution says,

“The adoption or amendment of charters is subject to such limitations as may be prescribed by the Legislature, and no charter or any ordinance passed under said charter shall contain any provision inconsistent with the Constitution of the State, or of the general laws enacted by the Legislature of this State.”

Texas Constitution, Article 11, Section 5

In a February San Antonio City Council meeting where this ballot measure was voted onto the May 6, 2023 municipal election ticket, three city councilman, according to a San Antonio Express News article, walked out of the meeting seconds before the vote to protest its inclusion on the ballot.

Councilmen Clayton Perry, John Courage and Manny Peláez who represent the northern portion of San Antonio in Districts 8, 9 and 10, respectively, stood up and left, refusing to participate “in a vote that puts an illegal item before the voters.”

“We’re not going to be participating in a vote that puts an illegal item before the voters,” District 8 Councilman Manny Peláez said after the meeting. “I swore an oath to uphold the laws of Texas, the federal laws and the Constitution, and this amendment does the exact opposite of that.”

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry referenced a Texas Supreme Court case filed by the Texas Alliance for Life, which wants to split up the proposition into separate votes. The Austin-based anti-abortion group said the amendment breaks state law because it includes several subjects under one proposition.

Segovia [city lawyer] has said the amendment should stand as is because all the elements have to do with criminal justice reform.

“The city is already facing one lawsuit pertaining to issues within this charter amendment, and there are sure to be more in the future,” Perry said in a statement after the meeting. “Please read and understand the full impacts of the proposed city charter amendment before casting your vote in May.”

San Antonio voters to decide on abortion, marijuana and police reform in May electionSan Antonio Express News, February 16, 2023

And yet this measure remains on the ballot for May. The city of San Antonio attorney argues that there is a provision to challenge the charter amendment AFTER the May 6, 2023 city election. Act 4 SA chair, Ananda Tomas, who is heading up the city charter amendment must see nothing unethical, immoral or dishonest about coupling a vote together that uses decriminalizing marijuana in order to pass decriminalization of abortion. City attorney Andy Segovia must see nothing unethical about it either. Of course, I would expect if San Antonio gets away with decriminalizing abortion the entire Bexar County will attempt to follow suit.

|Post-X: Marijuana Decriminalization is Used to Drive Out the Vote

I can imagine many San Antonio youth and others will be absolutely thrilled at the prospect of being able to vote to legalize marijuana. I imagine this is how Act 4 SA acquired all the signatures needed to get this charter amendment on the ballot. Dare I predict scores of first-time voters? I can imagine this may be the highest participated municipal election in San Antonio history. Of course, voting on legalizing marijuana or using it as a campaign promise is a tried-and-true strategy to turn out the vote in some states. This is a tactic typically used by Democrats and those who oppose the criminalization of marijuana. As an example, Governor Murphy of New Jersey spoke to New Jersians about decriminalizing marijuana during his re-election bid in 2019 to maintain his seat amid calls for removal and questions of election fraud. Murphy’s sentiments regarding the legalization of marijuana were public and he openly campaigned on it:

Governor Phil Murphy(D) has supported adult-use marijuana legalization since campaigning on the issue ahead of the 2019 election. On Election Day 2020, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved Public Question 1, which instructed lawmakers to enact legislation permitting adults to possess and purchase marijuana from licensed retailers. In this year’s State of the State address, Murphy once again reiterated his dedication to enacting legalization legislation, saying: “We are on the verge of passing an innovative and groundbreaking set of laws to reform our historically unjust approach to marijuana and cannabis. Two months ago, you voted overwhelmingly to legalize adult-use marijuana, and begin the process of ending the racial imbalance that disproportionately penalizes black and brown people arrested for marijuana offenses. We’re setting up a cannabis industry that will promote the growth of new small businesses, many of which will be owned by women, minorities and veterans.”

It’s a smart election tactic that works and is great when you need to fill physical votes with the digital ballot that will later replace them.


Published by Michael Aaron Casares

Poet, author, and podcast host. Michael Aaron is the host of the America First news and current events show The C Report . His published books include: The Vanishing Poet (2020), The Distance to the End (2016), A Trick of the Eyes (2017), and This Reality of Man (2011). The Root of Many Returns is his official website. Virgogray Press is a perennial publishing house.

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