Jazzy marijuana jingle to be aired on Texas radio
“Don’t fill up the jails with folks who like the weed. Give them folks a civil penalty,” is a jazzy tune that north Texans will soon be hearing on the radio.
Produced by Just Liberty, the song was made in order to promote HB 81, which would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a $250 civil fine. At the end it asks legislators to vote yes on House Bill 81, which has been passed out of committee and is waiting to be heard by the Texas House of Representatives.
“There’s a taxpayer-driven impetus here to treat these truly small-time offenses with small-time punishments that don’t cost the taxpayer more than they’re getting in public safety benefit,” said Scott Henson, policy director for Just Liberty.
Introduced by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), the bill would have police confiscate any marijuana and issue a ticket instead of arresting and jailing those with less than an ounce. There would also be no criminal record involved.
Judges have the option of reducing the fine for those who are indigent, or order community service for anyone wishing to take it instead. Those who are cited more than three times can face arrest and prosecution on a Class C Misdemeanor charge.
The bill does not cover concentrates and extracts however, which any amount of is considered a felony in Texas.
Just Liberty is a bipartisan 501c(4) organization dedicated to comprehensive criminal justice reform in Texas, from the traffic stop to the local county jail, the courtroom, prisons, parole, and the reentry process.
An excerpt from the group’s website:
At Just Liberty, we believe Texas incarcerates too many people and too often deploys police and jails to combat social problems instead of protecting crime victims. We want a criminal justice system which protects families instead of disrupting them, treats everyone fairly, rewards personal responsibility, and promotes liberty, justice, and respect for human dignity.
In addition to the radio ad, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy also plans to air a TV commercial featuring an active duty Dallas police officer.
A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll from February of this year found that 53 percent of Texans support marijuana legalization. A poll done by the same organization in June of 2015 showed 68 percent support for reducing the penalty for low-level marijuana possession.
The 2017 Texas legislative session ends on Monday, May 29, 2017. The legislature meets every other year.