Prohibition||Video

MPP and Allies Launch Texas TV Ad Campaign

This week, we began airing a TV ad in Texas featuring Russell Jones, a retired narcotics detective and Texas Hill Country resident. Jones says that people under the influence of marijuana are much less problematic than people under the influence of alcohol, and that “law enforcement officials have more important things to do with their time.” Its primary purpose: to urge lawmakers to support HB 507, which would reduce criminal penalties for marijuana possession in the Lone Star State.

The TV ad — online here — is airing on CNN, ESPN, and Fox News Channel through Thursday at midnight, and received a lot of media attention, including from Huffington Post, International Business Times, San Antonio Current, and many others.

The ad cites annual arrest reports produced by the Texas Department of Public Safety that show that more than 360,000 arrests for marijuana possession were made in Texas from 2009-2013.

Read more

Prohibition||Tax and Regulate

Texas Marijuana Bills Moving Forward

It has been a good week for marijuana policy reform in the Lone Star State.

On Monday, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence approved HB 507, a bill that removes the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of small amounts of marijuana — replacing them with a civil fine of up to $250. The measure will now advance to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote by the Texas House.Seal_of_Texas.svg

Last night, the same committee approved a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in the state by a vote of 5-2. HB 2165, introduced in March by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), would strike references to marijuana offenses from Texas statutes, resulting in marijuana being treated similarly to other legal crops.
Under current Texas law, individuals found with less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested, jailed for up to six months, and fined up to $2,000.
According to FBI data, there were 72,150 arrests or citations issued for marijuana-related offenses in Texas in 2012, 97% of which were for simple possession. That same year, nearly 90% of all burglaries, including home invasions, and 88% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved.

Read more