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: Referred to the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Authors: Chairman Joe Moody and Rep. Jason Isaac

Senate Bill 170 – Reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession: no arrest, no jail time, no criminal record (HB 81 companion)
Status: Referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee
Authors: 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: Filed
Authors: Rep. Eddie Lucio III

 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 the Senate Health & Human Services Committee

House Bill 780 – Zoning regarding Texas Compassionate Use Program
Status: Referred to Urban Affairs

  • 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 the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee

  • 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 the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee

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

House Bill 2200Affirmative defense to prosecution
Status: Filed

  • 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.)

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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