Marijuana penalty reduction bills die in Texas legislature
A pair of bills which would reduce and eliminate marijuana penalties in Texas have died in the state legislature.
Both House Bills 507 and 2165 have been left pending in the Calendar Committee, where committee chair Rep. Todd Hunter has refused to schedule them for consideration by the full House.
House Bill 507, submitted by Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso, would have decreased the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a fine of up to $250. There would be no arrest or criminal record.
House Bill 2165, submitted by Rep. David Simpson of Longview, would have completely removed all penalties for marijuana, but would have still made it illegal to provide the plant to children.
This leaves House Bill 892, which legalizes medical marijuana in a limited fashion, allowing for only the CBD compound to be prescribed by doctors. It is currently federally illegal for doctors to prescribe marijuana, and other states which have legalized some form of medical cannabis have only required a doctor’s recommendation. The Texas Senate has already passed an identical bill.
A coalition of organizations in Texas pushing for marijuana law reform, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, reported the news, however they have said that there could still be reform before the legislative session ends, through marijuana related amendments to current bills.
At the beginning of the session, the group says Rep. Hunter had originally stated he would schedule the bills.
Recent polling by Texas Tribune shows that 76 percent of Texans want to see marijuana laws changed, either through penalty reductions, medical marijuana, or full legalization.
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