Texas Lawmaker Files Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession has been filed in the Texas Legislature.

State Representative Joe Moody has prefiled legislation that would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The measure would make it so that anyone caught with up to an ounce could be fined a maximum of $250, but would not receive any jail time or criminal record. This is in stark contrast to current law, where possessing up to an ounce is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail (as well as a misdemeanor charge on your record).

“Civil penalty legislation is the first thing I’ve filed on the first day of filing for the 86th Session”, said Moody in a press release. “There’s been an incredible swell of bipartisan support since last session, and the official Texas Republican and Democratic platforms both approve of this kind of reform now,”. Moody says he’s “optimistic that this will be the session we finally see smarter, fairer marijuana laws in Texas.”

Read moreTexas Lawmaker Files Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Poll: 61% of Texas Voters Support Legalizing Cannabis

According to new polling a strong majority of Texas voters support legalizing cannabis for all uses.

The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, finds that 61% of voters in the state are in favor of ending cannabis prohibition, with 39% opposed. Democrats support the measure at a much higher rate – 69% – whereas Republican support is 50%, but still significant (43%). Among Independents, support was the same as for Democrats at 69%.

“Texans are not much different than voters in other parts of the country”, states a Quinnipiac University press release announcing the new survey. “They support almost 2-1 the idea of allowing small amounts of marijuana for personal use”.

Read morePoll: 61% of Texas Voters Support Legalizing Cannabis

Texas House Committee Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

A proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession in Texas received bipartisan approval from the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee today 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. House Bill 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.

Read moreTexas House Committee Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

New Marijuana Policy Takes Effect Tomorrow in Texas’ Most Populous County

Harris County’s Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program takes effect tomorrow, March 1st.

The new program – put forth by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg – makes it so that those caught possessing up to four ounces of cannabis within the county will no longer be arrested or charged with a criminal misdemeanor in most instances. Instead they will be mandated to take a four-hour drug education class.

Harris County is by far Texas’ most populated county with over 4.5 million residents. The county includes Houston, the most populated city in the state and the fourth most populated city in the country; its 2 million residents is more than the population of 15 states.

Read moreNew Marijuana Policy Takes Effect Tomorrow in Texas’ Most Populous County

New Poll Finds Only 17% of Those in Texas Support the Status Quo on Marijuana

The vast majority of Texans support a reformation of their state’s marijuana laws, according to new polling.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found that 83% of those in Texas support legalizing marijuana for at least medical use. 53% support legalizing recreational cannabis; of those 32% support legalizing “small amounts”, while 21% support legalizing “any amount:.

The poll marks a large increase in support from February, 2015; at that time 43% supported legalizing cannabis, with an additional 30% in support of legalizing medical cannabis.

Read moreNew Poll Finds Only 17% of Those in Texas Support the Status Quo on Marijuana

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.

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Cannabis Decrim Law Takes Effect in Texas’ Most Populous County on Friday

jointBeginning Friday, January 1st, the first-time possession of up to two ounces of cannabis will no longer result in an arrest and criminal charge in Harris County, the most populous county in Texas. Harris County is the third most populous county in the entire United States.

The new policy was put forth by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, who is calling it the First Chance Intervention Program. Under this program, those caught possessing up to two ounces of cannabis will no longer be arrested, charged with a criminal offense and imprisoned for up to six months. Instead, they’ll be given a citation and mandated to attend a diversion program.

Read moreCannabis Decrim Law Takes Effect in Texas’ Most Populous County on Friday

Poll: 68% of Texas Voters Support Decriminalizing Cannabis

texasA strong majority of Texas voters support decriminalizing cannabis, replacing criminal penalties with a civil infraction similar to a traffic ticket, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

According the survey, 685 of voters in Texas support decriminalizing cannabis, with only 26% opposed to the move.

Read morePoll: 68% of Texas Voters Support Decriminalizing Cannabis

Texas Rep. Kills Bills to Decriminalize Cannabis, Repeal Cannabis Prohibition

Texas State Representative Todd Hunter.
Texas State Representative Todd Hunter.

Despite being passed out of their initial committees with bipartisan support, Texas Representative Todd Hunter, Chairman of the House Calender Committee, has effectively killed a bill to decriminalize cannabis, and a bill to repeal cannabis prohibition, refusing to allow the full House of Representatives to debate and consider them.

House Bill 507 would have removed the possibility of jail time, or a criminal record, for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, reducing the penalty to a $250 fine. The bill was passed with a 4 to 2 vote by the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. The same committee also gave approval, 5 to 2, to House Bill 2165, a proposal to completely repeal cannabis prohibition in the state.

Read moreTexas Rep. Kills Bills to Decriminalize Cannabis, Repeal Cannabis Prohibition

Texas Senate Passes Medical Cannabis Bill

texascannabisTexas’ full Senate has voted 26 to 5 to approve Senate Bill 339, a proposal to legalize the medical use of low-THC cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy.

Specifically, the legislation would allow those with epilepsy who receive a recommendation from a physician to possess and use cannabis – including the actual pant, oils tinctures, etc. – that has no more than 0.5% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and at least 10% CBD (cannabidiol). The bill would establish a system of cultivation centers and dispensaries, which would provide patients a means of safe access to the medicine.

Read moreTexas Senate Passes Medical Cannabis Bill