Bill filed to allow Texas counties to legalize pot

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On Monday, state Rep. Jessica González (D-Dallas) filed a bill that would allow counties and municipalities in Texas to legalize recreational marijuana via ordinance.  

Taxes imposed on the legalized pot products would go to regulation, testing, quality control, local governments, and the Foundation School Fund. 

“Sixteen states in America have legalized cannabis and 26 total states have decriminalized the use of cannabis,” said González in a prepared statement. 

“While Texas has made progress with the Compassionate Use Act, we have been left behind on a potential revenue source that would increase investments in public education, stop the unnecessary arrests for cannabis possession, and create jobs in our state,” González said. 

In 2015, Texas passed the Compassionate-Use Act that legalized low-THC cannabis for patients with epilepsy. In 2019, lawmakers expanded medical marijuana for Texans with other diagnoses, including seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

“We should allow our local communities to make the best decision for themselves in regards to cannabis legalization, and HB 3248 would allow that for adults 21 years or older,” González said.

González also filed another bill on Monday that would make it so testing positive for cannabis in a drug test would not violate someone’s probation or parole. 

A recent February poll by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune shows 60 percent of residents in the Lone Star State believe either small amounts (32 percent) or any amount of pot (28 percent) should be legal. 

So far, 46 bills relating to marijuana have been filed in the state legislature. Many reduce the criminal charges of possession of marijuana to a low-level misdemeanor offense.  

Rep. Joe Moody has filed a bill to legalize marijuana and tax it. Last session, his bill to decriminalize pot passed the House but was declared dead on arrival to the Senate by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. 

Rep. Terry Canales has filed a bill to let Texans vote on the issue directly through a constitutional amendment

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

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