At least one Texas lawmaker is eyeing 2019 as the year to decriminalize cannabis in the Lone Star State.
First reported by Marijuana Moment‘s Tom Angell, Rep. Joe Moody (D) pre-filed a decriminalization bill early Monday for the 2019 legislative session.
The Texas Republican Party officially endorsed cannabis decriminalization in June — the party’s platform now says it supports changing the law “to make (cannabis possession) a civil, and not a criminal, offense.”
Moody’s decriminalization bill would mirror that sentiment, ending arrests for cannabis possession and replacing the risk of jail time or a criminal record for offenders with a simple fine.
“Civil penalty legislation is the first thing I’ve filed on the first day of filing for the 86th Session. There’s been an incredible swell of bipartisan support since last session, and the official Texas Republican and Democratic platforms both approve of this kind of reform now. I’m optimistic that this will be the session we finally see smarter, fairer marijuana laws in Texas.” — Rep. Joe Moody, in a press release
Cannabis reforms are becoming increasingly popular throughout the U.S. and politicians are learning to either jump on board or get left behind.
During last week’s midterms, Texas voters rejected incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions (R) — who chaired the House Rules Committee — due in part to his horrendous track record of categorically blocking any and all attempts at cannabis reform.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in October he favored reducing cannabis possession penalties.