By Alizeh Siddiqui
As part of the Marijuana Policy Project's multi-year legislative campaign in Texas, we are developing bill proposals to address decriminalization, as well as allowing marijuana to be used for medical reasons and eventually regulating it similarly to alcohol for adults.
According to Heather Fazio, Texas Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, the group will be pre-filing the three bills this November, in anticipation of the 84th Texas Legislative Session, starting in January.
"We are working with a diverse coalition to introduce a civil penalty bill which [would] make small possession punishable by a simple fine, rather than a criminal charge," said Fazio.
"This means no opportunity for jail time, and none of the collateral sanctions which come along with a criminal drug arrest. These collateral sanctions include limited access to resources for education, housing, employment, etc. It will also help to break down the stigma which goes along with being arrested and jailed for the possession of this plant."
"We will [also] be introducing a bill to create a legal market for marijuana, similar to alcohol, for responsible adults who are 21 and over," says Fazio.
The three bills cite Texans' support for reduced marijuana penalties, the passage of medical marijuana laws, and taxing and regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol.
Moreover, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and RAND Corporation data, 1,267,200 Texans already use marijuana each month, with the average user consuming 100 grams per year. Should Texas regulate and tax marijuana, with a tax of $50 per ounce implemented, the Lone Star State would stand to make between $150,971,063 and $264,199,294 in tax revenue annually.
Read the full Houston Press article for more information on the proposed marijuana policy changes in Texas, as well as an overview of the three bills.