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Texas Could Decriminalize Marijuana in 2015

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Texas Could Decriminalize Marijuana in 2015

While Texas has a reputation for being a roughneck state where getting caught with even a joint can result in a devious level of pistol-whip prosecution with dire consequences, these Old West policies could soon be a thing of the past with the recent introduction of bill aimed at decriminalizing marijuana in the Lone Star State.

Representative Joe Moody submitted a proposal to the state legislature that, if passed, would strip away the criminal penalties associated with the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replace them with a $100 fine. Moody, who announced the filing of House Bill 507, stood alongside a backbone council of state marijuana activists, including members of the ACLU and the Marijuana Policy Project, while proclaiming the time has come for Texas to get serious about changing the way it handles pot-related offenses.

“Our current marijuana policy in Texas just isn’t working,” he said. “We need a new approach that allows us to more effectively utilize our limited criminal justice resources. This legislation is a much-needed step in the right direction.”

As it stands, anyone caught in possession of up to 2 ounces of pot can be sentenced to six months in jail and receive a fine of $2,000. Supporters of decriminalization argue the measure is a simple approach to statewide pot reform that will keep thousands of people from being chewed up by the criminal justice system and, at the same time, allow the state to take a small step towards considering legal marijuana on a larger scale.

“Most Americans are fed up with laws that saddle people with criminal records just for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol,” said Heather Fazio, with the Texas chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Texas simply cannot afford to continue arresting and jailing people for marijuana possession.”

Although Texas approved a measure back in 2007 that allows individual municipalities to decriminalize marijuana with cite-and-release programs, most cities have continued to bust stoners simply because there hasn’t been enough support to make the change. Yet, recent polls indicate that 61 percent of Texas residents would like to see decriminalization efforts put into place, while 58 percent would support a measure to legalize a retail marijuana market similar to Colorado and Washington.

Unfortunately, the Lone Star State doesn’t appear to be anywhere near ready to head down the road to full legalization. In fact, drug policy experts say Texas is one of those “third tier” states in which the state government makes the possibility of legalizing weed a veritable pipe dream. Yet, Moody hopes he can rally the support of conservatives with liberal tendencies to help pass his decriminalization bill sometime in 2015.

Do you think Texas should decriminalize cannabis? What other states should decriminalize? Tell us in the comments.

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Christopher DeSantis

    March 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    If e s wants to make any money they would follow on the steps of these states more money lies problemsthe government needs to make money here our there chance to get out of debt

  2. Anonymous

    January 19, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Texas should legalize medical marijuana as it would help thousands who suffer from pain & many other medical conditions. The medicinal qualities of marijuana cannot be denied. Currently I have to take a host of expensive medications in order to function. I have to take these medications to control pain & anxiety after suffering for 20+ years with degenerative disk disease & three surgeries. I have to take these medications in order to be able to work & support myself. These medications are costly & I’m sure that they are harmful to my body. I would chuck every single one of them of marijuana was legalized for medical use because I would no longer need them. Let’s see; a natural plant vs a handful of chemicals? You do the math … Thanks!

  3. TX Two Step

    January 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Step 1. In the TX Controlled Substances Act identify cannabis smoke as marijuana, not marihuana. Let previously legal cannabis be itself.

    Step 2. Decriminalize tetrahydrocannabinols and other resinous extractives from cannabis.

  4. deb

    December 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I was born in Tx,I love my state, but it is time to at least allow people that find relief from a natural plant, have it. I also suffer from major depressive disorder, heart problems, open heart surgery 2010. I am on lots of drugs that I could replace if I could use marijuana. I would give anything to be able to use legally.

  5. potbuddy420

    December 31, 2014 at 5:00 am

    I do believe that cannabis should be lega,l but since this is texas decriminalization is more likely. Cannabis is a wonderful plant, the people that think otherwise, either havent tried it, are brainwashed still from all the propaganda in the past, or the sell pharmaceuticals. The plant will save the nation while alcohol destroys it

  6. Biker Dude

    December 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I have a non-operable condition that is terminal and it has me on pain, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. They keep me so screwed up that I can’t stand to take them. I started growing and smoking medical marijuana and I am feeling much better as well as being able to think more clearly. I don’t get wasted all the time, I just want to be able to live a somewhat normal existence in the time I have left. It also allows me more energy to do things. Texas should get off their collective butts and legalize medical marijuana so people that really need it can use it. I do believe that it should be legalized as it seems to be less dangerous than alcohol or drugs. With the advent of Vaporizers, the pollution to your lungs is now not the major problem that it was. Legalize Marijuana for at least medical uses !

    • Jfalk

      January 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      A 20 year long studies findings were recently released and found that smoking one joint a day over 7 years expanded lung capacity and increased air flow

  7. Issac Mills

    December 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I hope and pray that they do this. I have bipolar, major depression am in recovery addiction to pain pills and alcohol. I have a lot of arthritis from past surgeries. The only thing that has ever helped is marijuana. LEGALIZE ALREADY, TEXAS!

    M

    • Bob

      December 31, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      I’m with you can’t get any true relief or I will lose my job I’m getting frustated with thes Dr. Saying you just need no manage your anx. I am a recovering addict and don’t want to go back to using or drinking but legalizing this product would sure help MANAGE symptoms.

  8. dylan

    December 30, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Definitely should be decriminalized I think it would benefit USA a lot

  9. Cookie

    December 29, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Yes the great state of texas needs to stop playing and acting like alcohol is not more dangerous than WEED!!!!! I personally believe that it would make this state hella better to live in if they would just go on ahead and make it legal!!!! I AM 100 MILLION % FOR IT AND HAVE BEEN WAITING ON THIS FOR A REALLY LONG TIME!!!!!!

    • John Life

      December 30, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Blessings on you… your long wait will soon be the past…

  10. cicley

    December 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I have ADHD and im bi-polor i think it should be legal. Why but someone in jail or give them a ticket if they use it to help themselves. Personaly i stay fouced on things whem smokeing. And its hard for people to get good jobs if they smokeing becUse of drug testing. I mean why should people have to choose? I havent smoked in a month and my ADHD is kicking my ass.only cause i need a job

  11. jorge

    December 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I think it should be legal cause I have ADHD and I’ve taken all the adderalls for it and none of them work but when I smoke weed i tend to be really mellow I clean the house I go to work and then I munch out on food but if we do this it would be soo much better

  12. thomas joseph

    December 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I really think they should decriminalize on the pot I mean its silly to have to arrest someone with a joint or a roach or just a few grams of weed that just shows you how money hungry a county is when it comes to making money from the criminal system but hey what do I know personally I think they should just say fuck it an say let it grow

  13. Robbie

    December 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I think marijuana should be retailed like alcohol! Drink and smoking cigarettes are more harmful then marijuana. I have NEVER read or seen on the news where someone died because the driver of the car was stoned! I am even more careful driving when I am stoned!

  14. Veronica

    December 29, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    It would be great if Texas legalized pot. I have depression after my second child and by using marijuana (AWAY FROM MY KIDS OF COURSE) I don’t feel that depressing feeling. I rather smoke then pop pills.

    • Robbie

      December 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      I agree with you!

  15. john k

    December 29, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Everyone should be allowed to grow up to 6 plants on their own property and anyone with caught with anything under and ounce in public should only get a small fine! Get with it Texas! You are lagging behind, badly!

    • John Life

      December 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Anybody must be allowed grow any amount they want, and use any amount in any way they desire, as long as it does not interfere with others doing their thing…

  16. david

    December 29, 2014 at 10:35 am

    It needs to be legal not just decriminalize I cant sit in my house and smoke a plant that wont hurt me, but I can sure smoke a cig and drink my life away with out any word. Not to mention I can do those things outside my house.

  17. james taylor

    December 29, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I think it should be legale, most peeps that use only! the weed and not other drugs don’t harm people or them selves.

  18. Shanna

    December 29, 2014 at 8:27 am

    i would love to be able to grow the beautiful plants, I am a gardener

  19. corh

    December 29, 2014 at 6:04 am

    I will be glad when pot can be smoked with out fear of being put in jail.

  20. Herman

    December 29, 2014 at 3:52 am

    We need to start moving forward and make this legally available to adults. We all know the overwhelming benefits and facts that indicate cannabis is less harmful then alcohol.

  21. ricardo albino

    December 29, 2014 at 12:25 am

    I personally think that decriminalizing marijuana would help out texas in the economy and help reduce border crime rate and overall violence. It would also keep more than 70% of non criminal offenders out of jail.

  22. Mr Miller

    December 28, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    absolutely no reason for global complete unregulated marijuana legalization regardless what countrie you live in

  23. nate

    December 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Legalize it. It would definitely handicap the cartels and we can budget more funds to shut down the real drugs

  24. Daniel

    December 28, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    It is very important for Texas to pass this bill and then move forward with legalization. There are many hard working people here that use cannabis for many reasons and are afraid of persecution for the use of something that is less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco. How many alcohol related deaths have there been on texas roads this year alone? How many marijuana related on texas roads? Not only that but look at Colorado. In 6 months Colorado grossed 2.5 million dollars in tax on legal pot. They expect that to raise to 12 million in the next 12 months. With all the spending that Texas legislators do on a yearly basis, the legalization and taxation of cannabis would make up ten fold that number and can contribute to education and homeless veterans on top of many other things. It just makes no sense to keep this illegal any longer.

    • Max Jackson Jr

      December 31, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Wow you are So RIGHT. I agree 100%.
      I am a 60 yrs Old male and a TEXAS SON. I’m tired of hiding and Enjoying
      MAX OF TEXAS

  25. slingshot

    December 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Yes, decriminalize.

  26. trent

    December 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Only make it leagal for medical use up to a ounce any one cought without prescription should have the same consequences as they do now

  27. Susanna

    December 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Florida please be next.

  28. Ashley Oliver

    December 28, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Yes I believe that is should be legal everywhere,Texas included. Marijuana is a plant an herb that can heal and cure all nations problems. It doesn’t hurt or kill, it relaxes and stimulates the mind body and soul. It’s here to save lives and is very profitable.

  29. Rob jurkiewicz

    December 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

    wisconsin

  30. Ron Pendland

    December 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I really think Florida to many old people from up north they don’t care about anything but how much better it is up north . I have had 5 back surgerys in pain every day of my life pot is so much better than having to live on pain pills every day.

  31. bird

    December 28, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I think they should let that decriminalize bill fly in VA that considers 6 plants “for personal use” I have bedroom that’s just itching to house 6 trees.

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