It has been a busy week at the Capitol!
Marijuana Penalty Reduction
On Tuesday, eight bills aiming to reduce penalties for marijuana possession were heard in committee. Advocates were at the Capitol from 8:30am-6am for the very long day, but were able to provide valuable testimony for committee members.
If you’re counting, that was 21+ hours waiting to testify on all the bills. We are so grateful for their dedication!
TAKE ACTION: Contact your legislators in support of marijuana penalty reduction!
Yesterday, HB 1535 (medical cannabis) was considered by the Public Health Committee. With two hours to freshen up, many of those same advocates were back at the Capitol to support the bill, which expands the Compassionate Use Program. While the bill doesn’t go as far as we’d like, we do support this effort and made some recommendations for improving the proposal.
The hearing was only 1 hour (watch here) and testimony was cut short. Elizabeth Miller, a patient who came to Austin from DFW to testify, was denied her opportunity to do so (@1:18:30) because the committee didn’t give her enough time – 30 seconds! – to get into the hearing room from the overflow room. This was VERY disappointing.
UPDATE: With a very uncommon move, the committee voted on HB 1535 on the same day as the hearing. They supported it unanimously and the bill advances now to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote by the House of Representatives. Sadly, there were no amendments made, but our representatives will have a chance to make amendments on the floor and senators can amend it later in the process.
On Thursday, the Agriculture & Livestock committee considered HB 3948, which makes some changes to the Texas Hemp Program.
Amended language was presented by Rep. Tracy King at the hearing, removing several provisions that were alarming to stakeholders, including a ban on Delta 8 and Delta 10 products. Find more information here. When the hearing begins, you can watch the livestream here and submit public comment here.
For live updates, follow this Facebook event page!