Texas Weed Decriminalization Bill Passes in House and Then Dies in Senate
Texas took a big step toward loosening up its unwavering marijuana laws but its efforts were suddenly declared “dead.”
On Monday, lawmakers in Texas made history by approving a bill that would decriminalize the possession of cannabis. However, today, Lt. Gove Dan Patrick tweeted that House Bill 63 "is dead in the @Texas Senate. I join with those House Republicans who oppose this step toward legalization of marijuana.”
House Bill 63, suggested that people caught with an ounce or less of marijuana will be fined $500 and would be treated as a class C misdemeanor (same as a traffic ticket). This vote was passed by majority, 98 to 43. The earlier version of the bill was a small $250 fine and would be treated as a class C misdemeanor as well.
This bill would have place Texas as the 25th state to remove the threat of being convicted and incarcerated for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
Republican Joe Moody, D-El Paso, tweeted on Monday, "45 years since the [state lawmakers] passed marijuana reform. Today, we took a huge step forward when the House supported HB63. The bill would stop 75K Texans from being arrested annually & would save ~$735 million in local tax dollars." He has taken many attempts in
This bill also sets up people who have previous criminal records to have them expunged. This would free up their stresses of employment, education, housing, and educational opportunities. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety over 60,000 people were arrested for possession of marijuana and accounted for more than half of the drug possession arrests. House Bill 63 would saves many people from future life-altering situations and upsetting arrests.
The Republic Party of Texas did in-fact endorse the decriminalization of cannabis in 2018. One of the party’s new position read, “We support a change in the law to make it a civil, and not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time.”
Everything is still a toss-up for the bill. The Republican Governor Greg Abbot opposes broader cannabis legalization in the state as he mentioned in his reelecting debate last year. However, he did mention he is open to more limited reforms such as ones found in this newly passed bill. He still has not opening backed the House for the bill.
The bill may still remain in process but it is unclear as Senator Moody retweeted Chad Hasty’s tweet stating “It's absurd @moodyforelpaso's legislation won't even be brought up in the Texas Senate.” The up-hill battle in Texas continues as opposing groups rejecting the progressive strides.
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