While efforts to decriminalize marijuana appear to have plenty of supporters in Dallas, any such measure is likely to meet with opposition from some quarters, especially at the state level, according to Council Member Chad West.

West (District 1) announced Friday that he and several colleagues plan to propose a city charter amendment that would decriminalize misdemeanor amounts of marijuana possession inside the city limits, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The measure, if passed, would allow the “already burdened police” to “focus their attention on serious crime, not arresting people with small amounts of marijuana.”

“Bringing this to voters through a City Council-proposed Charter amendment instead of a petition will save the city time and resources,” West stated.

More than 50,000 voters have signed the Dallas Freedom Act petition currently circulating, demonstrating their support for such an ordinance. West’s proposed charter amendment mirrors the petition, which would “direct” the Dallas Police Department to stop issuing citations or making arrests for Class A or Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession.

If the city council approves the proposal, it can be placed directly on the general election ballot for Dallas residents to decide by vote, bypassing the costly and time-consuming process of verifying signatures gathered through the petition and calling a special election.

“Either way, it can get there. We’re talking the City of Dallas here, and it’s generally pretty favorable on marijuana reform. I’ve heard from people on both sides of the fence, but they like the idea of saving City resources,” West told The Dallas Express.

Voters in Harker Heights, Denton, Austin, Killeen, San Marcos, and Elgin have approved similar propositions for the same purpose. However, in January, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the latter four over their propositions. Harker Heights was spared because its city council refused to enforce its voter-approved ordinance.

“I will not stand idly by as cities run by pro-crime extremists deliberately violate Texas law and promote the use of illicit drugs that harm our communities,” Paxton said in a statement earlier this year. “This unconstitutional action by municipalities demonstrates why Texas must have a law to ‘follow the law.’ It’s quite simple: the legislature passes every law after a full debate on the issues, and we don’t allow cities the ability to create anarchy by picking and choosing the laws they enforce.”

West told The Dallas Express on Tuesday that he expects Paxton to take the same approach in Dallas.

“I am aware of that and fully anticipate us being sued as well,” he said. “I would hope he would recognize the will of the voters and not sue us. There’s a sliver of hope that could happen. However, I’m not overly optimistic … that we’re going to see a change in his mentality.”

In Dallas, as in other cities around Texas where decriminalization has been approved by voters, the ordinance would not apply to peace officers from other jurisdictions, such as Dallas County, the Texas Department of Public Safety, constables, school district police departments, and college and university police departments.

The proposed charter amendment will be placed on the November ballot if it is approved by the Dallas City Council on June 26.