Is Texas Ready to #LegalizeIt?Will Texas be one of the next states to legalize marijuana? Although it has long felt unlikely here in the Lone Star State, a variety of bills introduced into this year’s legislative calendar might make legalization a reality. With more than a dozen marijuana-related bills pre-filed at the end of 2020, Texas could be poised to make some reforms in how the courts treat drug crimes – and what might no longer be considered crimes.

Pending marijuana legislation

Some of the marijuana-related bills currently under consideration in the House include the following proposed bills and resolutions:

Texas HB 441

HB 441 would decriminalize the possession of pot for personal use, reducing the penalty for small amounts of cannabis to a citation rather than a misdemeanor.

Texas HB 447

HB 447 aims to legalize and create a retail marketplace for cannabis for those 21 years and older. The bill also stipulates that revenue would go to fund teacher salaries and retirement funds for Texas public schools.

Expansion of Compassionate Use Program

Texas has long been criticized for its highly restrictive medical marijuana, or Compassionate Use, program. Several lawmakers, including state Senator José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, are pushing to expand the program in 2021 so more patients have eligibility. The next two bills are related to medical use.

Texas HB 43

HB 43 would remove the low-THC cap on medical marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for whatever reason they deem necessary.

Texas SB 90

SB 90 also aims to remove the THC cap on medical cannabis, and expand the program to include post-traumatic stress disorder and other medical conditions. Lawmakers rejected this bill in 2019.

Texas HJR 11

This joint resolution from Rep. Ron Reynolds (D) would ask Texas voters to decide in November 2021 whether to legalize the sale and use of medical marijuana; i.e. at the ballot box.

Texas HJR 13

A different joint resolution, filed by Rep. Terry Canales (D), would ask voters to decide to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana in November of 2022.

We could go on and on, as there are many more examples of this type of legislation on deck. The vast majority of it has to do with decriminalization. Rep. Erin Zwiener, who filed HB 441, said in a press release, “Our current cannabis laws don’t make sense. We’re leaving dollars on the table, wasting public safety funds on enforcement, and saddling Texans with unnecessary criminal records that harm their ability to find work and housing. It’s time to bring our cannabis laws into the 21st century, and I’m eager to get to work on reducing penalties for possession of cannabis.”

The criminal defense attorneys at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm provide knowledgeable and strategic defense if you’re charged with a drug crime. We understand how the system works and we are prepared to defend your rights. To set up a consultation, call us today at 254-680-4655 or visit our contact page. We proudly serve clients from our offices in Killeen and Copperas Cove.