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Texas House decriminalizes marijuana

The Texas House passed a bill on Thursday that would effectively decriminalize marijuana in the Lone Star State. The bill will now await consideration by the Senate.  

The House vote on HB 218 comes after the House Jurisprudence committee approved the bill by a unanimous bipartisan vote in March

The House’s 87-59 vote on Thursday followed a preliminary approval of the bill from the chamber the day before, according to Marijuana Moment’s Kyle Jaeger.  

HB 218, authored by Democratic Rep. Joe Moody, would “make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, removing the risk of jail time and instead imposing a maximum fine of $500,” per Marijuana Moment’s Jaeger. “Existing law classifies possession of small amounts of cannabis as a Class B misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine,” Jaeger continued in a Tuesday morning dispatch.   

“Basically, the person is given a ticket, goes to court, they’re assessed a fine, then the court tells them, ‘You’ve got six months to pay and you need to stay out of trouble during that time,” Moody, who chairs the committee, said during a March hearing on the bill.    

The Texas House of Representatives passed similar proposals to decriminalize weed during the 2019 and 2021 legislative sessions, but both ended up dying in the Texas Senate. Moody’s HB 218 pulls elements from both of Texas’ most recent stabs at marijuana decriminalization together into one bill, according to Marijuana Moment’s Tom Angell.

Source: chron