Today, the Texas House of Representatives voted to approve HB 63, which would reduce penalties for possession of 1 ounce of marijuana. This is a historic step forward in changing Texas’ current draconian laws. Now that the bill has made it out of the House, it will move on to the Senate.
There was an amendment made on the floor but HB 63 will still accomplish no arrest, no jail time, and an opportunity to avoid a criminal record. Here are the highlights:
- Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana would be a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $500, but no arrest or jail time.
- Upon payment of fine and plea of no contentre (or guilty), a case may be automatically deferred once a year, allowing the individual to avoid a criminal record if the judge’s orders are followed (completing community service and/or drug education course).
- Dismissed cases would not generate a criminal record, which can follow a person for life and jeopardize employment prospects, housing, and educational opportunities.
- Under this revised proposal, the offense wouldn’t qualify as a “drug offense,” which eliminates the trigger for DL suspension and other collateral consequence.
This is an improvement from current law, which penalizes even small amounts with an arrest, up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and a permanent criminal record.
HB 1365, which expands medical access to cannabis was amended and passed with unanimous support from committee members! It is now in Calendars to be scheduled for the House Floor. Please ask your representative to co-author HB 1365!
HB 1325, a bill that would allow for agricultural growth, manufacturing and production of hemp, passed overwhelmingly in the House and now has been received by the Senate. Ask your Senator to support industrial hemp in Texas!
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