Marijuana Reform Moves Forward — A message from Rep. Joe Moody

Friends:Rep. Joe Moody

I’m very excited to report that the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence voted out House Bill 507, my measure to make possession of a small amount of marijuana a civil infraction instead of a crime, with bipartisan support yesterday.

House Bill 507 will make a huge dent in the $734 million of taxpayer money we spend every year on arresting, jailing, and prosecuting people who haven’t done anything else wrong. The bill will also keep law enforcement focused on more serious issues and young people from winding up with criminal records that can haunt them for the rest of their lives.

I don’t believe I’m overstating the significance of this vote to say that it was historic. No measure like this has ever been filed before in Texas, so having it reported favorably from committee was a huge step.

It was a difficult road to get here. I’ve been working with interested parties from all over the state–all over the country, actually–since last year, and at times negotiating the best, most balanced bill was tough. But I knew this bill was the right thing to do, so I never gave up, which is why the bill is now moving forward to the full House.

If you have any questions about this bill or anything else going on in the homestretch of this legislative session, please touch base with my office. Thanks so much for your support!

Rep. Moody's Signature



Joe Moody
State Representative | District 78

Bill to reduce penalties for marijuana possession advances in Texas House

By: Ashlei King
FOX San Antonio
May 5, 2015

SAN ANTONIO – Texans who support the decriminalization of marijuana hope to see history made.

The Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence approved a bill on Monday that would reduce penalties for people caught with a small amount of pot.

“We’re looking to really mobilize the grassroots because the citizens of Texas are ready for this. We just have to communicate that with our legislators and that’s what we’re doing right now,” Heather Fazio, Marijuana Policy Project Political Director, said.

HB 507 would remove the threat of arrest, jail time and a criminal record for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil find of up to $250.

Read more here:

SPECIAL REPORT: Moving for Medical Marijuana

By Ann Wyatt Little

Posted: May 05, 2015 10:25 PM CDT
Updated: May 05, 2015 10:25 PM CDT

Sherise Nipper and her family are going to Colorado.Sherise Nipper

“My body is tired and there are some days I just feel like I can’t get up anymore,” she explains. The 35-year-old will take part in a 30 day cannabis trial.

“The only reason I can’t be healed in Texas is because of politics and to me that’s not very fair.”

Seizures have been a part of her life for ten years now after being diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite a cocktail of medications, she still suffers

“In the past 24 hours I’ve had more than 50 seizures.”

She’s taken CBD Oil before which her husband says helped.

“Just in the little bit she’s tried it’s severely decreased her seizures,” he told FOX 7 reporter Ann Wyatt Little. Nipper had several seizures during a recent visit to the Texas Capitol but that didn’t stop her from lobbying lawmakers.

“We’re trying everything to be able to get relief from my seizures but I’m afraid if I stay here in Texas waiting on legislation I’m going to die waiting.” Nipper would like to see Texas legalize the whole plant.

While she may not get what she wants this session, Representative Stephanie Klick is working to give some epilepsy patients an option with House Bill 892.

“It allows an extract of cannabis plant to be used,” explained Rep. Klick.

The Republican from Fort Worth is a registered nurse. Her bill has support from both sides of the aisle.

“I know there are those who want a broader based medical bill but there really isn’t the support for it.”

Time, education and constituent’s struggles changed Klick’s view on the issue.

“There are 150,000 people in Texas intractable epilepsy and we believe this approach has a low risk of abuse and puts another tool in the tool box for doctors,” Klick said.

Nipper believes Klick’s bill is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done. While lawmakers debate, she’ll be in Colorado hoping and praying for relief.

“We really need the laws to change here in Texas. If they don’t I’m afraid we won’t be able to stay,” Nipper said.

Read more here:

Texas House committee approves reduced penalties for marijuana possession

Ask your representative to support HB 507.

This evening, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence approved HB 507, a bill that removes the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of small amounts of marijuana — replacing them with a civil fine of up to $250. The measure will now advance to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote by the Texas House.

Call now to ask your representative to support HB 507.

Under current Texas law, individuals found with less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested, jailed for up to six months, and fined up to $2,000. But Texans want to see this changed!

More than 60% of Texas voters support limiting the punishment for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a fine, according to a September 2013 Public Policy Polling survey.

“Texas cannot afford to continue criminalizing tens of thousands of citizens for marijuana possession each year,” said Rep. Joe Moody, who sponsors HB 507. “We need to start taking a more level-headed approach. It is neither fair nor prudent to arrest people, jail them, and give them criminal records for such a low-level, nonviolent offense.”

According to FBI data, there were 72,150 arrests or citations issued for marijuana-related offenses in Texas in 2012, 97% of which were for simple possession. That same year, nearly 90% of all burglaries, including home invasions, and 88% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved.

Thank you for your continued support and activism! Please share this with like-minded friends or family.

Editorial: Medical marijuana

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Staff
Photo: Mayra Beltran, Staff

Ann Lee, an 85-year-old Republican activist who is pushing the decriminalization of marijuana, supports Ramp Against Marijuana Prohibition in Texas on Friday, March 6, 2015, in Houston. (Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle)

The days before Thanksgiving should be filled with turkey recipes and touch football, building up to the excitement of the Christmas season. For six people in Harris County, however, those days were their last. Over a period of two days in November 2013, half-a-dozen Houstonians died of prescription drug overdoses (“Pain pill OD data largely unsound,” Page A1, April 26).

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Martin: Does marijuana use lead to harder drugs?

Studies find that the majority of people who used pot don’t move on to stronger substances.

By William Martin | April 30, 2015
Houston Chronicle

Pot is hot in Austin this spring as legislators consider a double bill-martinhandful of bills ranging from permitting medicinal use of a low-potency strain of cannabis with limited applications to treating marijuana much the same as tomatoes or jalapeños.

In almost any discussion about decriminalizing or legalizing use of marijuana, the question arises, “Is it a gateway to the use of harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin?”

It’s a valid question that deserves and has received serious attention.

First, consider the numbers from the massive National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the primary source of government-gathered statistical data on drug use and abuse in America.

As of 2013, nearly 44 percent of Americans 12 and older – more than half of those under 60 – had tried marijuana at some point in their lives but only 7.5 percent had used it in the last month.

As for harder drugs, about 14 percent had tried cocaine, but only 0.6 percent had done so in the last month. For heroin, 1.8 percent had tried it, but only 0.1 percent in the last month. Obviously, the overwhelming numbers of people who ever use marijuana do not go on to use harder drugs, and certainly not at a problematic level.

But what about those who do use harder drugs? Did marijuana play a role?

Quite likely, most of them did use marijuana before using cocaine or heroin, since it is by far the most widely used and easily obtainable illicit drug. And almost surely, nearly all had already used alcohol and/or tobacco, both of which are far more addictive and harmful. Adolescents who use alcohol heavily are 12 times more likely to use illicit drugs than are nondrinkers. Young smokers are nine times more likely than their non-smoking peers to try such drugs.

Read more here:

Marijuana Is Not, Repeat Not, a Gateway Drug

By Miriam Boeri 4/25/15 at 3:03 PM


With states legalizing marijuana by popular vote, some politicians, including Boston mayor Marty Walsh and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, are still calling marijuana a gateway drug.

The gateway theory argues that because heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine users often used marijuana before graduating to harder drugs, it must be a “gateway” to harder drug use. The theory implies that there is a causal mechanism that biologically sensitizes drug users, making them more willing to try—and more desirous of—harder drugs.

Yet the gateway hypothesis doesn’t make sense to those who use marijuana or have used in the past. Research shows that the vast majority of marijuana users do not go on to use hard drugs. Most stop using after entering the adult social world of family and work.

Military veterans urge Texas legislators to legalize medical marijuana


AUSTIN, TX – When it comes to marijuana in Texas, one particular group has high hopes of changing the law of the land.

Military veterans rallied at the Texas capitol to support the legalization of medical marijuana. Supporters urged Public Health Committee chairwoman Myra Crownover to hold a hearing on House Bill 3785.

The bill would allow seriously ill Texans to have access to marijuana if their doctors recommend it as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other debilitating medical conditions.

These are the same folks who put the needs of the country before their own. Looks like they’re not holding their breath about the puffs they really want to take.

See original article here:

Foes Of Marijuana Legalization Can’t Like These New Numbers

Posted: 04/14/2015 8:31 pm EDT
by Matt Ferner

Opponents of legalizing marijuana can’t be happy about several new polls released Tuesday. Majority support for making cannabis legal is holding steady, while young adults are legalization’s biggest fans. And that’s true both nationally and in several swing states.

Nationally, 53 percent of Americans support legalization, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Pew found essentially the same result, 54 percent in favor, in a similar poll last year.

Millennials are far more supportive than other voter demographic groups, according to Pew. Sixty-eight percent of those aged 18-34 support legalization, a full 16 points higher than the next most supportive demographic, those aged 35-50. An earlier Pew survey showed that the millennial demographic is significantly more supportive across party lines.

Read more here:

A Pro-Life Defense of Marijuana Legalization

by Jason Vaughn on April 10, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Three years ago, I don’t think I would have ever imagined myself defending the decriminalization of marijuana, much less the legalization of it. My first ministry internship while in college included living with and working in a half way house. I’ve seen the self destruction that drugs cause, and I am not a supporter nor do I condone drug abuse. Yet, since I founded Pro-Life Texas almost two years ago, my thought process has started to change. So if you’ll indulge me as you read this, I hope to join others speaking in defense of marijuana legalization on a pro-life basis.

Read more here:

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