LUBBOCK, Texas — When Lubbock Compact was given 60 days to garner 4,800 signatures for their petition to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana back in August, the group made an even bigger goal for themselves. They wanted to get 8,500 signatures.
On Tuesday, October 10, Lubbock Compact surpassed its goal by 300 signatures with a week left to get more. Adam Hernandez, the Communications Chair for Lubbock Compact, always believed they could do it. However, he still couldn’t help but feel pleasantly surprised at just how fast it happened.
“It is a little surreal to already be at this point because starting at zero, it just seemed like such a huge mountain to climb,” Hernandez said.
From the moment the petition started, the Lubbock Compact team and volunteers registered people to vote and collected signatures for sometimes eighteen hours a day.
“Pretty much every hour we’re awake. We’ve been working on this,” Hernandez said.
They all have their own reasons for helping, including Hernandez.
“A big part of it is the mental health aspect that marijuana can help a lot of people with,” Hernandez said. “I lost my oldest daughter to suicide in 2018 so mental health is something that has affected me very greatly.”
Hernandez said a driving force for him is making sure people don’t go to jail if they’re using marijuana to help with health issues.
“I hope to see our city resources being used for other more important things than locking people up for low-level marijuana possession,” Hernandez said.
If the petition eventually becomes a law, Lubbock would be the largest city in Texas to decriminalize marijuana through a petition.
According to Courtney Paz, the City Secretary for Lubbock, petitions of this nature don’t come across their desk a lot.
“I don’t believe it’s very common,” Paz said.
This is why, if passed, Hernandez believes it could make ripple effects around the city.
“We’re gonna make history here in Lubbock, Texas,” Hernandez said.
After Lubbock Compact turns their signatures in on October 17, the signatures will need to be verified by the city secretary. After they’re verified, the petition will go to Lubbock City Council for a vote. If the City Council votes it down, Lubbock Compact will request that it be on the May 2024 ballot and it will be up to voters as to whether it passes or not.
Even though they’ve reached their goal, Lubbock Compact is still hoping for more signatures.
According to a press release from Lubbock Compact, they’re holding two events so anyone who has been collecting signatures on can turn them in to be included in the final count. People are also welcome to sign the petition then.
The first opportunity will be Wednesday, October 11 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at 2nd Chance Books on 50th St. They will also be at Mano Negra Brewing Company on Saturday, October 14.