Constitutional Amendment to Legalize Cannabis Filed in Texas

A Texas bill to make legal cannabis a constitutional right has been filed in the state’s legislature.

Constitutional AmendmentState Representative Donna Howard filed HJR 46 late last week. The measure is a “constitutional amendment directing the legislature to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis.”

The proposal joins several other measures that have been filed in the state that would either decriminalize cannabis or greatly reduced the charges associated with it, though HJR 46 is the only one that would actually make cannabis legal.

Given that the measure is a constitutional amendment, the battle will be a tough one; it requires a 2/3rds vote in the state’s legislature. If it does receive enough support in the legislature, it will be placed before voters during the 2018 election.

Last year legislation to repeal cannabis prohibition in its entirety – treating it as “tomatoes”, as the sponsor put it – was approved with a 4 to 2 vote in the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Although the surprise vote shocked the media and political world, it unfortunately failed to advance further.

According to polling released last October, a rapidly growing number of Texas voters support legalizing cannabis; 46% support the move as of 2015, compared to just 33% four years prior.

Earlier this month Texas State Senator Jose Menendez filed legislation that would legalize medical cannabis; this would include a system of licensed dispensaries.

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