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Texas Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bill Scheduled for Hearing Tuesday

By Thomas H. Clarke March 11, 2013 Texas Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bill Scheduled for Hearing Tuesday
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Bill Would Reduce Jail Time for Simple Possession Offenses

AUSTIN, TX — A bill that would reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession in Texas has been scheduled for a hearing by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Tuesday.

The bill, House Bill 184, would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500, but with no possibility of jail time.

Possession of two ounces or less is currently a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 dollars.

Houston Democrat Harold Dutton, Jr. re-introduced the bill this year. Dutton sponsored an identical bill in the 2011-12 legislative session, but the bill died in committee.

While stopping short of decriminalization, the penalty reduction proposal would be significant for a state known to have some of the toughest drug laws in the country.

According to a report from the Marijuana Policy Project, 97% of all marijuana arrests in Texas during 2007 were for simple possession.

Despite its reputation as a libertarian state with an emphasis on personal freedom and limited government, few Texas legislators have been willing to endorse those principles when it comes to marijuana policy reform, although the Texas Democratic Party made the decriminalization of marijuana part of its official platform in 2012.

Meanwhile, Rep. Elliot Naishtat (D-Austin) has filed a bill that would not legalize medical marijuana in Texas, but would provide some protection for medical marijuana patients to avoid punishment.

Under his bill, HB 594, a person arrested for marijuana could enter evidence that their doctor gave instructions that use of the drug could provide benefits for their illness, leading to a dismissal of the charges.

The bill also provides protections for physicians who recommend marijuana use to their patients. HB 594 remains pending in the House Public Health Committee.

Texas residents are urged to contact their elected officials and encourage them to support these bills. The Texas legislative session ends in May.

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  • Warhol

    IM FROM TEXAS! I don’t care about policy! Who care smoke it! I hope so all alcoholism gonna die for no reason and too risky! Who care smoke it! I’m still happy they all day by alcoholism!!!! :)))))

    • Rick Perry

      What?

      Could you translate that into English please?

      I’m from Texas and from where I’m sitting near Lake Ray Hubbard that was barely coherent.

      That being said the war on drugs is a dismal failure and we’re spending way too much money and resources to outlaw and prosecute people for something that for all intents and purposes is harmless when used sensibly.

      • Normlisgreat

        What I don’t understand; Why is norml kissing the ass or our employee? And why are we not doing it like Colorado and Washington. Cut through this BS and put a legal bill together (ie. under the influence while operating a motor vehicle provisions and so forth). And get a petition signed and put on the ballot. Then let the people work with the lawmakers to make it happen. We boast about being a republic. Let’s act like one.

        I feel like this legislature does not want to empty the prisons, jails and legal system or place a choke hold on the cartels and illegal aliens that that are running rampid down here. And do it quickly.

        We could add a tax to pay for something like education. That would bring an influx of cash into the county. Because there are a lot of dope smokers whether it be for fun or medical. We don’t even have to go as far as opening store fronts. A simple permit for a reasonable fee to posses 6 plants and the product and the product of those 6 plants plus an ounce like Colorado’s law is setup to do.

  • Jayredd

    Looks like when i turn 21 i wont have to be as paranoid!^.^

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  • http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100718142704AADUPxR Melky_the_Cat

    Texas and Weed seem incongruent. (Except for Dubya.)

    • Rick Perry

      No, dubya was into coke…. he never was competent enough to roll a doob.

    • mikey

      i think industrial hemp would be awesome down here.

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  • buddy

    Smoke weed everyday 817 bitch

    • mikey

      956 representin’

      I hope they decriminalize because it will save the government thousands of dollars. among other things. the RGV is just too preoccupied with marijuana.

  • buddy

    Why is it my government is so intent on feeding me chemicals for whatever ale’s me with side effects ranging from diarrhea to my own funeral but I can’t self medicate with a plant that grows in my backyard? I ask anyone what has marijuana ever done to you unrelated to it’s legalities?

  • Concerned dad

    Ignorant responses are exactly the reason good decisions have to be denied. I have a son who is self abusive to the point of extreme danger, as well as rage outbursts that can hurt others. This is worth a try and it is quite a bit less to the state versus us reaching a point where we cannot handle him and have to put him in a facility. There are legitimate needs where this can be a viable option. For you ignorant morons maybe it is time for you to accept your responsibilities and grow up. Become productive and stop wasting your time and others with ignorance, it will not change the outcome of where your life is headed unless you grow up. Don’t ruin this option for people desperate for answers.

    • Chad Calhoun

      Your Son Might Be A Synthetic Marijuana User.

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  • mikey

    found the link: http://goo.gl/9Zme5, not sure what is going on now.

  • Chad Calhoun

    That’s Cause Ur Son Is On Synthetic Weed…Im A former User Of This Drug And It’s Bad…..Legalize Marijuana To Save lives

  • NORML

    Synthetic marijuana is way more harmful then the regular plant – causes psychotic episodes, etc.
    Texas is so backwards.