Texas House Committee Discusses Several Marijuana Bills
April 9th, 2015
Policy, Top News
The Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence took a look at several different approaches to reforming the state’s marijuana laws this week. With the session drawing to a close, it’s unlikely that other hearings are likely to be heard and it seems even less likely that the Legislature will pass any big changes to the state’s notoriously tough marijuana laws this year.
The first two bills, HB 325 and HB 414, seek to reduce possession of 0.35 ounces of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor from its current status as a Class B misdemeanor. They would also drop possession of two ounces to a Class B misdemeanor and under four ounces to a Class A misdemeanor. Reps. Harold Dutton Jr. and Gene Wu are backing these measures from Houston.
The third bill, HB 507, aims to take greater strides toward the liberalization of the state’s marijuana policies. If enacted, the bill would reduce penalties for possession of less than an ounce to a $100 fine with no jail time. Rep. Joe Moody from El Paso is sponsoring that bill, saying that it takes great measures to spend resources wisely and treat people fairly across the board.
The final bill, HB 2165, would effectively legalize marijuana with little to no regulation, much like a traditional vegetable. Critics believe that the bill leaves too little oversight and could cause more harm than good, while proponents believe that it would set the stage for better laws across the country.
In addition to these bills, at least eight others are pending throughout the House and Senate as either standalone or companion bills. Many of these bills aim to legalize industries like hemp production in addition to decriminalizing the drug. A number of medicinal bills are also in the works to make medical marijuana and related drugs more easily accessible to patients in need across the state.
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