Tag Archives: Marijuana Legalization

Legalize It?

Image result for legalize it

The Texas Tribune reports that Texas Legislators have filed several bills aimed at decriminalization of Marijuana.

Less than a week after several other states approved measures weakening marijuana restrictions, some Texas lawmakers are looking to do the same. 

On Monday, the first day of bill filing for the 2017 legislative session, Lone Star State legislators submitted several proposals to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Among the bills are those that would create a specialty court for certain first-time marijuana possession offenders, reduce criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and re-classify convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana. 

Among the Texas proposals that have been filed thus far:

House Bill 58 by state Rep. James White, R-Woodville, would create a specialty court for certain first-time marijuana possession offenders based on the principle that first-time defendants are often self-correcting. The measure is intended to conserve law enforcement and corrections resources, White said in a news release.

State Rep. Joseph “Joe” Moody, D-El Paso, filed House Bill 81, which aims to replace criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of up to $250. The bill also allows Texans to avoid arrest and possible jail time for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Moody authored a similar bill during the previous legislative session; it did not pass.

State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., D-Houston, filed House Bill 82, which aims to classify a conviction for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana as a Class C misdemeanor instead of Class B. However, if a person is convicted three times, it would revert back to a Class B misdemeanor. Dutton co-authored a similar bill last session with Moody.

State Sen. José Rodríguez filed Senate Joint Resolution 17, which would allow voters to decide whether marijuana should be legalized in Texas, following the pattern of a number of states.

Senate Joint Resolution 18, also authored by Rodríguez, would allow voters to decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use if recommended by a health care provider. “It is long past time we allow the people to decide,” Rodríguez said in a statement.

Rodríguez also filed Senate Bill 170, which would change possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from a criminal offense to a civil one.

Texas Takes Stumbling First Step Towards Legalization of Marijuana

Gov. Greg Abbott has a choice to make.  Will he or will he not veto a bill that makes a very small first step towards legalization of medical marijuana in Texas.  If Abbot signs the new legislation, medical marijuana could be legal in Texas albeit in a very modified limited way. The Texas House has approved a Senate bill that would allow limited use of Cannabidiol oils, a marijuana derivative.  The new law might stand a chance of getting Abbott’s approval because it was sponsored by two Republicans.  The bill, crafted by Sen. Kevin Etlife and Rep. Stephanie Klick would legalize Cannabidiol oils, which don’t cause euphoria upon ingestion.  Marijuana reform, which is slowly creeping across the nation, may speed up if the reddest of the red states cracks open the door even slightly.

Make Marijuana Legal?

The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee has passed HB 2165 which would completely decriminalize marijuana. Three Democrats and two Republicans voted to support the bill and it passed 5-2. The bill is championed by Rep. David Simpson (TP- Longview) who has argued that marijuana comes from God and therefore shouldn’t be banned by government.  Simpson, a Tea Party mainstay champions what he calls the “Christian case” for legalization.

Simpson’s bill is now eligible for consideration on the House floor before the legislative session ends June 1, but many view that as a remote possibility. Advocates for reform of marijuana laws viewed the committee vote as “unprecedented progress” for Texas marijuana rights. The bill would have strong popular support. According to a Texas Research Institute Public Policy Polling in September of 2013 almost 60% of Texas voters support legalizing and regulating marijuana similar to alcohol. That number has surely risen in the last two years as four states (Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon) have completely decriminalized cannabis.