Bill Introduced to Decriminalize Marijuana in Texas

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Texas Representative Joe Moody introduced a bill yesterday morning calling for the decriminalization of “marihuana” possession. The proposed bill would also create “an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia.”

Under HB 334, possession of over one ounce of marijuana would still be punishable with a misdemeanor, while five pounds or more would still garner a felony charge.

Should the bill pass, police would cite the person caught in Texas with under one ounce of cannabis with a civil penalty of up to $250. It is important to note that these civil penalties for marijuana possession cannot be considered a “conviction” on someone’s criminal record.

The court can waive the civil penalty in favor of issuing up to ten hours of community service or admittance into a substance abuse education program at the judge’s discretion.

If someone is issued three separate civil offenses for marijuana possession, the fourth instance would make the accused eligible for a Class C misdemeanor charge rather than a fine.

Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) has a long history of attempting to usher in marijuana reform in Texas, having submitted a similar decriminalization bill earlier this year as well as a bill aiming to regulate industrial hemp licenses.

While his state tends to be on the tail end of progress when it comes to ending the War on Drugs, Joe Moody offers a bastion of hope for the future of reform in the Lonestar State. In an article Moody penned for the El Paso Times earlier this year, he said the following about decriminalization:

…it’s a better way to deal with this issue. Right now, Texas is spending $734 million every year on enforcement, not to mention the time and attention of police, prosecutors, and courts that could all be better spent dealing with other issues.

On top of that, the current punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Arrestees — mostly young people — are being saddled with permanent criminal records that can make them almost unemployable later.

They also face driver’s license suspensions, housing and student financial aid denials, and immigration consequences over this pettiest of petty “crimes.”

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

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6 Comments

  1. Joe Moody gets it, one of only a few who do in Austin, if more law makers would stand up this injustice would end, sick people need this to stop, go after alcohol, not marijuana.

  2. Herb Sojourner on

    We are confident that Joe Moddy;s “better” is still a crime a against humanity – 50 years of 100’s of millions of violent and sexually perverse crimes ATTRIBUTABLE to the drug of choice of the servants of the law waging a “war on drugs” – alcohol. As 40% of all violent crime, as well as trillions in economic deficit was, and still is, attributable to their drug of choice for “recreation” those made a conscious choice to ignore the data, obey an immoral order (law), and scapegoat those trying to “mellow out” in such a such a drunken, violent, and sexually perverse environment – the cannabis consumer. Joe Moody needs to understand, and communicate the truth – trauma is the primary gateway and the drug of choice of the servants of the law – alcohol – is king of human trauma as those 100’s of millions of violent, sexually perverse, and prime PTSD-causing crimes over the past 50 years indicate. And the honorable do not use such a drug, and/or affectionately receive and serve those who do, and this even in public in the presence of children, while scapegoating the victims of such crimes who are consuming cannabis to treat their alcohol-related stress.

    • I like your use of the term “drug of choice” for alcohol. We need to start demanding that legislators who fight cannabis legalization start defending THEIR drug of choice or shut the hell up… The statistics are totally stacked against them.

    • Tommy Samuel on

      Mr. Sojournor..? Why don’t you or Mr. Moody run for the Governor’s Office in Texas…? Mr. Abbott has got to go….He will never let cannabis be legalized in Texas. I’d vote for either you or Mr Moody…. Keep up the Good Work…

  3. It’s really nice to see some of the law makers in the lone star state of Texas finally start to listen to the people as they should being we are the ones who put them there. I’m from San Antonio but live out here in California after retiring from the Navy. One main reason is I can use cannabis for pain management instead of all the opioids most places want you to use. And if Texas law makers start to pull their heads out of their REAR-ENDS and realize how devastating alcohol is on the body (88,000 died in 2015 due to alcohol https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics) this is what our own government has come up with. But yet it’s not on the CSA (Controlled Substance Act, DEA’s schedule list). Its a drug that has killed many. Cannabis hasn’t killed anyone by itself (overdose) although some advocates against cannabis have cited that cannabis was found in the blood of drivers in fatal car crashes but get this they never tell you if there was any other drug ie. Alcohol, prescription drugs or other illicit drugs found, just cannabis is all they want people to see. So there still hasn’t been any conclusive evidence that people have died due to just consuming cannabis. There is plenty of evidence proving what alcohol can and has done to people when consuming too much. So its nice to see Texas is finally starting to see the true light!

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