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Houston-based coalition group expresses support for marijuana reform

Houston Marijuana Coalition

A coalition of groups from the Houston area are jointly expressing their support for marijuana legislation in the state legislature.

The Harris County Young Democrats (HCYD), Houston Young Republicans (HYR), Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), and Houston NORML are in full support of the proposed marijuana reforms heard ealier in the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee this week.

The bills supported by the coalition are HB 507, HB 325, HB 414, HB 2165, and HB 3785.

These ambitious pieces of legislation will help end Texas’ outdated marijuana policies and will implement changes like reducing the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and allowing for the full legalization of marijuana possession and use according to the group’s press release.

While the objectives of each bill will address separate issues, the coalition fully supports each on their merits.

“[HCYD] are in support of our Texas Legislature decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana in the State of Texas,” said Navid Zanjani, President of the Harris County Young Democrats. “It is the right step in ending prohibition and to reduce the strain these archaic laws have on our society.” The coalition’s support of marijuana policy reform is based not only on ending burdensome prohibition-style legislation, but also based on matters of fiscal responsibility and improving Texas’ criminal justice system.

“When bills are considered in committee, their budgetary impact is a prime indicator of whether the bill will pass through committee or not,” said John Baucum, President of the Houston Young Republicans and Political Director for RAMP. “In 2012, there were over 70,000 arrests or citations for marijuana-related offenses in Texas, and over 95 percent were for possession only.”

“The 2015 legislative session in Texas has been a landmark for marijuana reform,” added Houston NORML Executive Director, Jason Miller. “We’re happy to see lawmakers taking a bold stance on this issue. It’s time for Texas to implement sensible reforms to marijuana policy and stop criminalizing responsible adults for using cannabis.”

The bills will be heard by the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee this Wednesday at the Texas State Capitol. The coalition is encouraging all interested parties to contact their legislators and committee members to express their support. The committee members can be found here.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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