Texas Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bill Advances

Apr 04, 2017 , , , , , , , ,

A proposal to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Texas received bipartisan approval from the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday and will soon be scheduled for a full vote in the House. The measure passed by a vote of 4-2, receiving support from two Democrats and two Republicans.

HB 81, authored by committee Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) with 37 co-authors, would remove the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine of up to $250. Under current Texas law, individuals found in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested and given a criminal record, and they face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

“This is a bipartisan proposal that represents a moderate shift in how Texas manages low-level marijuana offenses,” said Heather Fazio, a spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy in a press release. “The state’s current policy of arresting and jailing people for simple marijuana possession is completely unwarranted. Law enforcement officials’ time and limited resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes.”

5 responses to “Texas Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bill Advances”

  1. That’s as much as we can expect in Texas. Baby steps are still steps, and with time we will see medical for all, and eventually recreational.

  2. This is a major advancement in our current policy on simple marijuana possession for personal use and is long overdue. As the rest of the country (and others like Amsterdam) have already made major advances with the changes in their state laws, which has brought in millions of dollars of tax revenue that can be used to build newer and more modern prisons for more serious offenders and solve our overcrowding problem, as well as monies for new infrastructure such as freeways and bridges that were built during the Eisenhower administration that have either completely fallen apart or are about to do so.

    These are just two issues that can be solved by taxation on the sale of marijuana through the same system that has worked in other states. Their only problem has been that under our current National laws that won’t allow these stores that can legally sell marijuana to use banks making them a cash business and a prime target for robbery, which is defeating the purpose of legalizing marijuana in the first place by bringing crime back into the equation.

    So yes, I am in complete agreement with HB 81, and give it and the politicians my full support in moving forward with its enactment into law.

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