The hearings come 1 week soon after a Texas Home committee authorized a marijuana decriminalization bill that would make possession of 1 ounce or significantly less punishable by a $250 fine with no jail time. That legislation is awaiting placement on the Home calendar for a complete floor vote.
In the meantime, lawmakers in the Home Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will take testimony on 5 other bills that would lessen penalties for possession of a variety of amounts of cannabis, in addition to 1 proposed constitutional amendment to legalize and regulate marijuana sales. Here’s a rundown of these bills:
HB 335: The legislation would make possession of 1 ounce or significantly less a Class C misdemeanor, as opposed to a Class B misdemeanor.
HB 371: Possession of 1 ounce of significantly less of cannabis would be a Class C misdemeanor beneath the bill.
HB 753: The bill would make possession of .35 ounces (or about ten grams) of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor.
HB 1206: Below this legislation, possession of two ounces or significantly less of cannabis would be a Class C misdemeanor. It also lowers penalties for greater levels of possession, producing possession of 5 pounds or significantly less a Class A misdemeanor rather of a state jail felony, for instance.
HB 2518: Possession of two ounces of significantly less would be a Class C misdemeanor beneath the bill. Penalties for possession of marijuana more than two ounces would stay in spot.
HJR 108: The joint resolution proposes a constitutional amendment that would authorize the possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana for individual use.
“We’re grateful to see so numerous legislators prioritizing marijuana law reform and understanding that present policies are expensive and ineffective,” Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Accountable Marijuana Policy, mentioned in a press release. “We’re operating to assure any passing measure involves provisions to eradicate the threat of arrest, jail time and permanent criminal record for low-level marijuana possession.”
“A criminal record for even a little quantity of marijuana follows a individual for life, hindering their access to education, employment and housing,” she mentioned. “This is specially significant contemplating that higher college and college age Texans make up the majority of arrests each year. We’re saddling our young people today with criminal records and causing a lot more harm to their lives than marijuana itself ever could.”
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Elsewhere at the capitol, the Home Agriculture and Livestock Committee will be meeting to talk about a number of pieces of hemp legislation. Here’s what these bills would do:
HB 1325: The bill would demand the state agriculture division to create regulations for hemp production. These regulations would involve annual inspections, tracking and testing of hemp and hemp items. It would also be charged with instituting charges for hemp cultivation.
HB 989: Beyond requiring the agriculture division to build guidelines for hemp manufacturing, the bill also calls on the division to choose a university via which it will “promote the analysis and improvement of industrial hemp and industrial markets for industrial hemp and hemp-derived items.”
HB 1657: The legislation would also demand the agriculture division to establish a regulatory framework for hemp. The bill would in addition amend the state’s drug laws to exempt hemp from the list of controlled substances.
HB 1230: The legislation would mandate the agriculture division to create regulations for industrial hemp cultivation and then submit these plans to the U.S. Division of Agriculture for approval.
Lastly, the Home Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee has 1 cannabis-connected bill on Monday’s agenda.
Most of the proposed Texas cannabis reform measures are not as sweeping as bills that are moving forward in other states. In New Hampshire, for instance, legislation to legalize cannabis for adult use cleared two significant legislative hurdles in current weeks. But the sheer volume of decriminalization and hemp regulation bills alone is a optimistic signal for advocates.
What’s a lot more, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has currently indicated that he’s open to signing decriminalization legislation that reduces the penalty for low-level possession to a Class C misdemeanor. The governor mentioned he does not want to see “jails stockpiled with people today who have possession of little amounts of marijuana.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers are also contemplating legislation to expand the state’s present restricted health-related cannabis law.
Healthcare Cannabis Expansion Has Higher Help In Texas Legislature, But Lt. Gov. May Stand In The Way