With increased momentum for cannabis law reform in Texas due to recent polling finding over 50% of the state to be in support of cannabis legalization, several state lawmakers have announced that they’ll soon be filing proposals to significantly reform the state’s cannabis policies.
State Representative Harold Dutton Jr. has announced that he will soon be filing a proposal to greatly reduce the penalty for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis; under current Texas law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is punishable by a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a potential 6 month jail sentence. Dutton’s proposal would reduce the penalty for cannabis possession – up to an ounce – to a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by only a ticket.
“I think that’s a little overkill for somebody who has an ounce or less of marijuana,” Dutton says of current Texas law. “It’s a sea change from where Texas [is],” he says, speaking of his legislation.
Representative Elliott Naishtat has announced that he’ll soon be filing legislation to legalize medical cannabis, establishing a system where patients can legally possess and use cannabis, and where they can purchase it from state-licensed nonprofit collectives. This will be the seventh time Naishtat has attempted this legislation, but he remains optimistic.
“We make a little bit of progress every session. Last session for the first time we had a hearing on the bill,” says Naishtat. “And it was very compelling because the people who testified were people with legitimate medical conditions who were using marijuana specifically for medical purposes.” He notes; “All the publicity that’s been focused on the state of Washington and Colorado only helps us in what we’re trying to do.”
Those in Texas should be actively contacting their district’s lawmakers (which can be looked up by clicking here), urging them to support cannabis law reform.