Texas House Passes Bill to Reduce Cannabis Possession Penalties

The Texas House approved a cannabis decriminalization proposal last week, reducing penalties for possession up to an ounce. The bill moves next to the Senate, which rejected similar legislation in 2019 and 2021.

Full story after the jump.

The Texas House last week passed a cannabis decriminalization bill that would reduce penalties for possession of up to an ounce of flower or concentrates to a Class C misdemeanor, KXAN reports. Despite the reduced charge, however, possession penalties could still include a hefty $500 fine.

Under current state law, such possession would be considered a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Possession of four ounces or more is considered a felony with a penalty of up to two years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

State Rep. Joe Moody (D), one of the bill’s authors, said the measure addresses cannabis possession “in a smarter way” than current Texas law.

“What it does is turn personal use possession into a non-arrestable Class C offense under House Bill 218. Possessing a small amount of cannabis is still illegal.” — Moody to KXAN

The measure also reduces penalties for possession of two ounces or less to a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, and for possession of between two and four ounces to a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

The measure moves next to the Senate, which rejected similar legislation in both 2019 and 2021.

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