November 13, 2018, Texas
A Democrat state representative from El Paso, Texas, Joe Moody wants to decriminalize marijuana in the second most populous state of the US. Moody has introduced a bill during the pre-filing stage for the legislative session of the next year in the state’s House of Representative. The proposition, House Bill 63, if passed, will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
According to the bill, any person with a small usable quantity of cannabis (up to one ounce) on them will not be subjected to criminal prosecution. Instead, law enforcement entities can hold them liable for a civil penalty of not more than $250.
According to experts with an eye on local Texas politics, the bill has a fair chance of getting the approval from the House of Representatives. Apart from Moody’s fellow Democratic lawmakers, many Republicans reps are also in favor of cannabis reforms. In addition, Greg Abbott, a longtime cannabis opponent governor of Texas, has also hinted that he might approve a legislative draft entailing the reduction of penalties for the possession of a minor amount of marijuana.
Texas Republicans are in favor of cannabis reforms
Surprisingly, the official stance of the Texas Republicans broadly supports cannabis reforms. After the Texas GOP convention held in June, the official statement that came out suggested the relegation of possession of small amount of cannabis to a civil offense with no prison time. The statement also asked the federal administration to remove cannabis from the Schedule I of the list of controlled substances.
Heather Fazio is a coalition director of one of Texas-based cannabis advocacy groups. He thinks that Republicans are now also ready for the implementation of sensible cannabis policy. According to Fazio, every year nearly 70,000 Texans are arrested for the possession of small amount of cannabis. By decriminalization in place, the state doesn’t have to use up its valuable resources on meaningless prosecutions.
Fazio also applauded the call of Texas Republicans to de-schedule cannabis. After the futile war on drugs spanning the decades, it has become crystal clear that outright prohibition of cannabis is not working at all.
Where does the governor stand?
Gov Abbot doesn’t share the official stance of Texas GOP on cannabis. Nevertheless, during the gubernatorial campaign, he promised to ratify the bill that would reduce demeanor of minor cannabis possession (less than two ounces) from Class B to Class C.
Abbot also admits that those lobbying for cannabis legalization including veterans have a compelling case. However, he is still adamant on many principle issues. For example, he is not in favor of the expansion of the state’s restrictive medical marijuana program. Similarly, he is an outright opponent of adult-use legalization.
Experts think that Abbot will ratify the bill if it ends up at his desk because it’s strictly about decriminalizing small amount of cannabis. Abbot is also against stockpiling jails with people with the only charge of possession of a minor amount of cannabis.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]