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.”
According to a poll released in April and conducted by Quinnipiac University, 61% of voters in Texas are in favor of ending cannabis prohibition, with just 39% opposed. Although unsurprisingly Democrats and Independents support ending prohibition at a higher rate than Republicans (69%), support among Republicans was still impressively high for a state considered by many to be quite conservative (50%).