Texas legislature considers bills that lessen penalties for cannabis possession, increase access to medical marijuana

Texas Politics

AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Cannabis is a hot topic at the Texas legislature this week.

Lawmakers are debating various proposals that could change marijuana laws in the state. Today, the topic was reducing penalties for possessing the drug.

Bills up for consideration would lower the charge for having two or less ounces from a Class B to a Class C misdemeanor, making marijuana possession the same legal class as a speeding ticket. The big difference being that marijuana possession is still a drug offense.

“Paying the fine, you would be convicted of a drug offense which carries lasting collateral consequences,” Heather Fazio with Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy said.

A group called “Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy” says that 77% of Texans support decriminalizing marijuana possession.

“We’d like to see penalties reduced so that there’s no threat of arrest, jail time and most importantly no criminal record associated with small amounts of marijuana,” Fazio said.

The House Public Health Committee will consider a bill to make access to medical marijuana easier on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee will consider a bill that impacts the regulation and production of hemp in Texas.

This all comes at a time when several other states are leaning towards or legalizing marijuana. Just last week, New York legalized recreational marijuana, making it the 15th state to do so.

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