Texas Senator-Elect Files Cannabis Legalization & Medical Expansions Bill

Texas Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez has pre-filed a bill that aims to legalize cannabis in Texas and dramatically expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Full story after the jump.

Texas Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez (D) has pre-filed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis use in the state and expand its medical cannabis program, CW39 reports. In a tweet, the lawmaker from San Antonio said the measure would create 30,000 new jobs in the state and produce $3.2 billion in new revenue.

The measure sets personal possession limits at 2.4 ounces, allows personal cultivation up to 12 plants per household, and sets the legal purchase age at 21.

“There is going to be a budget shortfall to affect all Texans next legislative session, however, I look forward to working with my colleagues to offer a real solution. Our state’s economic future is uncertain and in order to best serve our state, we have to look at cannabis legalization as a solution and not keep going back to the taxpayers and raise their taxes.” – Gutierrez to WOAI

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar has projected a nearly $4.6 billion deficit when the 2021 State Legislature convenes in January, according to a KTSA News report.

Neither Gov. Greg Abbott nor Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – both Republicans – support legalization and medical cannabis expansion proposals. In May, Texas lawmakers approved a measure to add seven new conditions to the program’s qualifying conditions list and remove a requirement for patients to have two doctors’ recommendations before accessing the program; however, the bill did not remove the restrictive 0.5 percent THC cap on medical cannabis products.

“I really believe that it’s a few people inside the bubble that have opinions that are based on myths, and quite frankly, they’re not based on science,” Gutierrez told KTSA.

An April 2019 Emerson College poll found 38 percent of Texans supported full legalization, while 35 percent only supported legalization for medical purposes.

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