Texas House Approves Decriminalizing Marijuana and Marijuana Concentrates

A bill to decriminalize marijuana possession and marijuana concentrates has received approval by the Texas House of Representatives.

The Texas House has passed House Bill 218 through its second reading. Filed by State Representative Joe Moody, the measure would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or marijuana concentrates such as hash and oil.

The bill would not legalize marijuana, but those caught with up to an ounce would, at most, be given a fine of up to $500 with no possibility of jail time. A similar measure was passed by the House in 2019 and 2021, but both efforts failed in the Senate. Proponents of the measure are optimistic that rapidly shifting public opinion will lead the Senate to act on the measure this year. Governor Greg Abbott has also expressed support for the bill.


“Basically, the person is given a ticket goes to court, they’re assessed a fine, then the court tells them you’ve got six months to pay and you need to stay out of trouble during that time”, says Representative Moody. “If the person does their part, the court dismisses the charges, and on a request of the individual, deletes the entire record of it. The person walks away lighter in the wallet but without any criminal record whatsoever.’”

In addition to removing criminal penalties for up to an ounce of marijuana and marijuana concentrates, HB 218 would make it so that the possession of one to two ounces is no longer an arrestable offense. However, it would still be a class B misdemeanor that could appear on a person’s criminal record unless they file to have it expunged.

Under current Texas law the possession of even a miniscule amount of marijuana is a punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Also today the Texas House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee held a hearing on a separate proposal that would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and the personal cultivation of up to 12 plants. That measure was also filed by Representative Moody.

 

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