A long-time veteran of the Dallas Police force along with an ovarian cancer survivor have appeared in a television commercial that calls to decriminalize cannabis in the Longhorn State. The ad will air through the weekend, shortly before the Texas House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that could drastically reduce penalties for marijuana possession.
Nick Novello, the active duty police officer, states in the spot that “arresting people for marijuana possession does not make our communities any safer.” Novello goes on to add that putting this burden on law enforcement is a “terrible waste of police resources.”
Heather Jackson is the cancer survivor in the ad, who was arrested in El Paso in 2007 on her way to her cancer treatment in Houston. Police found two-tenths of a gram of pot in her car and Jackson spent 4 days in jail. The arrest resulted in a criminal record, which has prevented her from getting a teaching job.
Texas is one of the more notorious states for strict marijuana legislation. Individuals found with less than 2 ounces can be arrested and face six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
If passed, HB 81 would decriminalize marijuana possession for up to 1 ounce and replace it with a fine of $250.
See the 30-second ad being aired on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC in Austin, Dallas, and Houston: