Where do Texas’ marijuana policy-related bills currently stand?

Civil Penalties

House Bill 81 – Reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession: no arrest, no jail time, no criminal record (policy overview)
Status:05/11/2017 H Placed on General State Calendar (No vote taken.)
04/03/2017 Reported Favorably by House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee (Vote: 4-2). Details.
Authors: Moody | Isaac | Dutton | Minjarez | White
Co-Authors: Allen | Alonzo | Alvarado | Anchia | Arévalo | Bernal | Blanco | Canales | Collier | Davis, Yvonne | Gervin-Hawkins | González, Mary | Gutierrez | Hernandez | Hinojosa, Gina | Howard | Israel | Johnson, Eric | Johnson, Jarvis | Longoria | Lucio III | Miller | Nevárez | Oliveira | Ortega | Reynolds | Rodriguez, Eddie | Rodriguez, Justin | Romero, Jr. | Rose | Thierry | Thompson, Senfronia | Turner | Walle | Wu

Senate Bill 170 – Reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession: no arrest, no jail time, no criminal record (HB 81 companion)
Status: Referred to Criminal Justice
Author: Sen. José Rodríguez

Medical Cannabis

House Bill 2107 – Make the Compassionate Use Program more inclusive: add qualifying conditions, lift cap on THC, make workable by fixing flawed “prescription” language (policy overview)
Status: 05/09/2017 H Committee report sent to Calendars (No vote taken.)
Authors: Lucio III | Isaac | White | Simmons | Sheffield
Co-Authors: Allen | Alonzo | Alvarado | Anchia | Arévalo | Bailes | Bernal | Biedermann | Blanco | Canales | Clardy | Coleman | Collier | Cook | Cortez | Cyrier | Darby | Deshotel | Dukes | Dutton | Faircloth | Frank | Gervin-Hawkins | Giddings | Goldman | González, Mary | Gooden | Guerra | Guillen | Gutierrez | Hernandez | Hinojosa, Gina | Holland | Howard | Huberty | Israel | Johnson, Eric | King, Phil | Lambert | Longoria | Lozano | Martinez, “Mando” | Minjarez | Moody | Morrison, Geanie W. | Muñoz, Jr. | Murphy | Nevárez | Oliverson | Ortega | Perez | Phelan | Raney | Reynolds | Rodriguez, Eddie | Rodriguez, Justin | Romero, Jr. | Rose | Stickland | Stucky | Thierry | Thompson, Senfronia | Turner | Uresti, Tomas | VanDeaver | Villalba | Vo | Walle | Workman | Wu | Zedler | Zerwas

Senate Bill 269 – Make the Compassionate Use Program more inclusive: add qualifying conditions, lift cap on THC, make workable by fixing flawed “prescription” language (HB 2107 companion)
Status: Referred to Health & Human Services Committee
Author: Sen. José Menéndez

House Bill 780 – Zoning regarding Texas Compassionate Use Program
Status: Referred to Urban Affairs
Author: Rep. Matt Shaheen

  • Prevents localities from adopting zoning ordinances regarding cultivating, producing, dispensing, or possessing high CBD / low THC cannabis that would have the same effects as prohibiting it in the area.

Other Penalty Reduction Bills and
Affirmative Defense

House Bill 82 and House Bill 680Reclassify low-level marijuana possession to a criminal class C misdemeanor
Status: Referred to Criminal Jurisprudence
Authors: Rep. Harold Dutton and Rep. Gene Wu, respectively.

  • These bills will eliminate jail time for small amounts of marijuana, but maintain possibility of arrest and criminal record (and life-long collateral consequences) upon conviction.

House Bill 58Allow for the establishment of county-level first-time offender diversion programs.
Status: Referred to Criminal Jurisprudence
Author: Rep. James White

  • This is something that can and is being done via prosecutorial discretion.

House Bill 2200Affirmative defense to prosecution
Status: Left Pending by Committee on 4/24/17
Author: Rep. Gina Hinojosa

  • This bill has been introduced for many sessions, but hasn’t moved out of committee.
  • Provides protection from conviction for patients after arrest and at the judge’s discretion. Provides no safe/legal access.

Joint Resolutions (Constitutional Amendments)

This type of legislation requires approval from a super majority of the legislature and places the specified policy on Texas’ 2018 ballot for a vote. Each of the following bills provides vague language and lacks appropriate deadlines, creating opportunity for significant delays in implementation.

Senate Joint Resolution 17 and House Joint Resolution 46 – Instruct the legislature to establish legal retail market for adult use. (SJR 17: Referred to Senate Criminal Justice Committee, HJR 46: Referred to House State Affairs.)

Senate Joint Resolution 18 – Instruct the legislature to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program. (SJR 18: Referred to Senate Health & Humans Services.)

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