The Texas House on Monday tentatively gave a green light to a bill lowering the criminal penalties for low-level marijuana possession.
Instead of six months of jail time, the penalty would be a misdemeanor for possessing under one ounce of the Mary Jane. The bill’s author is State Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso.
“We’re grateful for Rep. Moody’s diligent work to find common ground with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, told us. “This bill will do a lot of good by preserving valuable public safety resources in keeping a marijuana charge from derailing someone’s life.”
Texas arrests more than 75,000 people a year for pot possession.
Presuming the bill receives final approval in the House, the next step is the more conservative Texas Senate.
Through a spokesperson, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the senate leader, told the Texas Tribune about a different bill that he is “strongly opposed to weakening any laws against marijuana.”
(Editor’s note: Just stop, Dan.)
Not surprisingly, Texans don’t agree with Patrick. Smoke it and tax it, most of us say.
Still, the Lt. Gov. tweeted on Tuesday the Moody bill was D.O.A. in the senate.
“Criminal Justice Chair @Whitmire_John is right that #HB 63 is dead in the @TexasSenate,” he wrote. “I join with those House Republicans who oppose this step toward legalization of marijuana.”
Patrick also opposes medical marijuana to help treat PTSD, Epilepsy, and cancer.