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 Holding Hearing on Medical Marijuana Legislation Tomorrow (May 1)

Tomorrow, May 1, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy will join with patients, caregivers, and medical professionals from around the state to testify in support of House Bill 2107.

The Texas House Committee on Public Health will hold a hearing Tuesday on the bipartisan proposal that’s meant to fix the state’s “unworkable” medical marijuana program and make the unnecessarily restrictive law more inclusive.

According to a press release sent today by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, the group will hold a pre-hearing media availability at 3 p.m. CT tomorrow, directly outside the hearing room (E2.012) of the State Capitol. Coalition leaders will be joined by patients (including Texas veterans), caregivers, medical professionals, and advocates from around the state who will be testifying in support of HB 2107, as well as multiple Texas families that have relocated to other states so their children can access medical marijuana.

Read moreTexas House Committee Holding Hearing on Medical Marijuana Legislation Tomorrow (May 1)

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 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.

Read moreConstitutional Amendment to Legalize Cannabis Filed in Texas

Texas Lawmaker Files Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Bill to Legalize Medical CannabisTexas State Senator Jose Menendez has filed legislation that would legalize medical cannabis, including a system of licensed dispensaries.

“Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients,” says Senator Menéndez. “This is legitimate medicine that can help a of variety people, from the grandmother suffering from cancer to the veteran coping with PTSD after returning home from war.”

Under the proposed law, those with a recommendation from a physician would be allowed to possess and use medical cannabis. A regulated system of dispensaries and cultivation centers would be authorized to provide patients with a means of safe access to their medicine.

Read moreTexas Lawmaker Files Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis

First Time Possession of Cannabis Now Decriminalized in Texas’ Most Populous County

bud2Harris County, Texas has a population greater than 24 states in the U.S., with over 4 million people. As of today, January 1st, those in the county caught possessing up to two ounces of cannabis for the first time will no longer be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison. Instead, they’ll be given a citation and mandated to attend a diversion program.

The new policy, titled the First Chance Intervention Program, was put forth by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. Although those caught possessing cannabis for the 2nd time will still be charged with a misdemeanor, Anderson says that the law is expected to be expanded in the future to include all cannabis offenses of two ounces or less.

Read moreFirst Time Possession of Cannabis Now Decriminalized in Texas’ Most Populous County

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

Dallas Police Chief Admits Ending Incarceration for Cannabis Possession Is “just so damn practical”

By Monterey Bud, Marijuana.com

Dallas Texas: Chief of Police Admits Tickets Over Incarceration Is “Just so Damn Practical”
Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

The Dallas City Council and local Police Chief are pondering the cultivation of a much-needed pilot program – similar to the cite and release program scheduled to roll out in the Houston area on January 1, 2016 – Dallas police would instead issue citations to individuals busted with a small amount of cannabis.

Currently in the soaked and saturated state of Texas, getting caught in possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2000. Despite these overtly severe penalties, Police Chief David Brown claims to be conflicted over the idea of giving his police force the green light to write tickets in lieu of throwing people in jail, simply for getting caught with their personal stash.

Read moreDallas Police Chief Admits Ending Incarceration for Cannabis Possession Is “just so damn practical”