State Republican Joe Moody, who is a Democrat from El Paso, recently launched a bill to legalize small measures of marijuana in the Texas House of Representatives. The amendment, House Bill 63, was handed by Moody on the first day of the pre-filing period for the legislative session of 2019.
According to the statement of the bill, if its successfully passed, an individual who deliberately or intentionally carries excess amounts of marijuana which is one ounce or less will not lead to criminal prosecution but is eligible to the state for a civil penalty not be more than $250.
It seems like the bill is destined for success. Both Moody’s own Democratic Party and that of state Republicans want reform in cannabis laws. Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott, who is against marijuana reform, stated that he was ready to lessen the penalties for possessing little measures of marijuana.
At the convention for the Republican Party of Texas which held in June, delegates accepted a policy that incorporated various planks which favored cannabis reform.
According to the official party stance on cannabis they are in favor of a reform in the law so that it can become a civil law rather than a criminal, offense for legal adults only to carry one ounce or less of weed for personal consumption, prosecutable by a fine of about $100, but without jail time.
A different plank called for a reformation in marijuana regulation at the federal level. Congress should consider removing marijuana from the list of Schedule 1 drugs.
The coalition coordinator for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, Heather Fazio, stated that the position of the party showed the decision of most Americans.
According to Fazio, Texas Republicans, like most Americans, want to witness more realistic marijuana policies enacted. She also said their state squanders significant criminal justice resources prosecuting between 60,000-70,000 Texans each year. Delegates wish to a better approach.
Fazio added that while it most people would like to see cannabis completely re-scheduled, this call by the Texas GOP could bring a very positive change in opinion. A complete ban of the drug is not possible, and Texas Republicans want Congress to act to make marijuana more available.
Since Abbott became governor in 2015, has been blocked the re-scheduling of cannabis in Texas. And while his status hasn’t changed as much as his party’s, in an election debate with opponent Lupe Valdez in September, he stated that he is ready to accept a bill that would lessen the possession of fewer than two ounces of marijuana from a Class B to a Class C crime.
Abbot said he doesn’t want people packed in one jail cell because of possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Although Abbot stated that he wanted veterans and others lobbying for reformation made a persuasive argument, he did not favor an increase in the restrictive medical marijuana program of the state.
According to Fazio, Abbott’s ability to accept change is a significant development, but his preferable approach is not direct.