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Marijuana legalization: Hot topic for Texas 85th legislative session

Marijuana legalization: Hot topic for Texas 85th legislative session

While Texas lags in marijuana policy, many are hopeful that the Texas 85th legislative session will put an end to such conservatism. Basis a number of proposals in favor of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana that were proposed in November 2016, it is expected that the Texas legislative session may take some ground-breaking decisions.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, a number of organizations working to reform laws pertaining to marijuana hosted a “Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy” advocacy training at the Texas State Capitol to try and get people onboard for legalization of marijuana. While marijuana has not yet been legalized in Texas, these organizations are hoping that it will happen in the near future.

During the advocacy training, the organizations hoped to educate people on how to push for reform in the state’s marijuana policy, the bills that the organizations want to see passed, and how to talk to lawmakers regarding marijuana legalization. The bills in discussion are as follows:

Senate Bill 170: This bill aims at changing possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by a person from a criminal offense to a civil offense.

House Bill 81: This bill aims at replacing criminal penalties for marijuana possession of an ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of up to $250. It also allows Texans to avoid arrest and possible jail term for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Senate Bill 269: This bill aims at expanding the use of marijuana for medical purposes by allowing patients with devastating conditions to receive medical cannabis under a doctor’s recommendation. In 2015, lawmakers in Texas passed a law legalizing usage of low THC cannabis oil for epilepsy patients. Post its implementation next fall, the Texas Department of Public Safety is going to oversee the program.

As per Jax Finkel, executive director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the mission of their organization is to make sure that both citizens and patients in Texas have safe access to cannabis. Therefore, they are taking steps to make sure that patients are protected and that citizens are not being penalized for marijuana possession.

According to Shaun McAlister, leader of Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) NORML, Texas is at a tipping point where Texans have seen the rest of the nation have a sensible marijuana policy. According to McAlister, post the 85th Texas legislature session, they will not see people being put in prison for possessing small amounts of marijuana. He also believes that now the doctors will also be able to recommend marijuana as a medicine to their patients.

In addition to medical benefits, marijuana legalization in the state might further help fill in the budget deficit for 2017 since this year Texas was only allocated $104.9 billion which is down by $10 billion from 2015.

Road to recovery

At present, possession of two ounces of marijuana, or less, is a class B misdemeanor in Texas that results in a maximum of 180 days in jail and/or a fine of $2,000. Until the law changes, those caught with marijuana still run the risk of a fine at the very least and/or jail time with a huge fine at the worst.

If you know someone who is addicted to marijuana or any other addictive substance, it is time to get them professional help. At the Texas Drug Addiction Treatment, we can help you find the finest treatment centers across Texas. Call us at our 24/7 drug addiction treatment helpline 855-980-5757 or chat online with our experts to know about the top inpatient drug treatment centers in Texas and outpatient drug treatment programs in Texas.

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