Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes legalization efforts. The Lone Star State has introduced six different cannabis-related bills since the legislative session has started, and it sounds like they’re not finished yet!
First, Texas State Representative Joe Moody introduced a bill to remove criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. While it has support from national cannabis advocates, the Texas Sheriffs Association has said that the organization will oppose the measure, and Governor Greg Abbott has also stated his opposition to legalization and decriminalization efforts.
Next up, two GOP lawmakers filed the Compassionate Use Act, with identical bills introduced in both the House and the Senate. Senator Kevin Eltife introduced Senate Bill 339 and Representative Stephanie Klick introduced House Bill 892, both with the aim to regulate the growth and dispensation of cannabidiol oil for use by patients with epilepsy and other intractable conditions.
While their intentions are honorable, patients in the state are looking to another, more comprehensive set of medical cannabis bills that were introduced by Representative Marisa Márquez and Senator José Menéndez, which would legalize the use and possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for medical purposes, as well as allow for cultivation of up to six plants. House Bill 3785 has received tremendous support from legalization advocates but will face an uphill battle against the upper tier of lawmakers, particularly the governor.
The latest in a long string of cannabis initiatives comes from Representative Davis Simpson and would end the prohibition of cannabis by removing all mentions of marijuana from the state’s constitution. House Bill 2165 would regulate cannabis “like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee.” At first glance, this seems like a fine idea not unlike many of the states that have already legalized, regulated, and taxed cannabis similarly to alcohol, but when perusing the statement released by Rep. Simpson, it starts to sound a little, errr…..unusual. “I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix.”
It seems like the current cannabis strategy in Texas is to throw the entire pot of spaghetti at the wall and hope that something sticks.
Will something stick? It's too soon to say, but may the odds be ever in your favor, Texas.