Today was a busy day at the Capitol! There were hearings on industrial hemp, decriminalization of marijuana possession and a joint resolution that would allow Texans to vote on legalizing the adult use of cannabis, making a total of eleven bills heard today. Here is an overview for you.
Industrial Hemp Hearing
From the dais, the Chair said that all testimony was in support or neutral on the hemp bills scheduled for hearing. Testimony from specialists, farmers, Republicans business interests and Texas farmers who left the state to pursue hemp and want to come home to grow this agricultural commodity. It is imperative that the Texas legislature passes hemp regulation so that we can control our program as opposed to being under federal regulation. (Watch the hemp hearing here.)
Chief Hunter of the Texas Police Chiefs Association (TPCA) registered as neutral on HB 335 as they support a bill that changes the charge from a B to a C criminal penalty but did mention many concerns that they had. This is a first as they have previously opposed these measures. Watch TCPA’s press conference from last week. Many Texans showed up to support changing the harsh penalties we currently live under, including the Chair for the Texas GOP.
Texas NORML’s Executive Director was at the Capitol today to refute some of the common misconceptions and distortions we hear from those that misunderstand this issue. Read the testimony on HJR 108. It is important that Texans have a fact based dialog surrounding this complicated topic and understand why law enforcement is invested in maintaining that status quo. (Watch the decriminalization and legalization hearing here.)
We have a lot of more work ahead, let us have the endurance to complete this session strong!