Marijuana law reform has reached Texas!
Last update: February 1, 2016
Election Day: March 1, 2016
Early Voting: February 16-26, 2016
This voters’ guide was compiled, published, and funded by members of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, a broad coalition of organizations, activists, and community leaders dedicated to 1) enacting a comprehensive and compassionate medical marijuana law; 2) removing penalties for adults’ possession of marijuana for personal use; and/or 3) replacing the illicit market for cannabis with a safe, legal, and accountable market. Texas NORML originated the guide in 2012, and we’d like to thank them for helping to put this year’s guide together. Our goal is to help voters make educated decisions when they go to the polls to vote in the Democratic or Republican Primary.
Marijuana policy in the 84th Texas legislative session
The 84th Texas legislative session was historic in the movement to improve marijuana laws in the Lone Star State. All told, there were five bills that would have reduced penalties for possession of marijuana, one of which would have completely legalized access for adults. In addition, there were four bills to provide legal access to medical marijuana. A very limited medical marijuana bill — now the Compassionate Use Program — was signed into law, but is unlikely to function without significant changes. Nonetheless, it is a strong sign that the state legislature recognizes the medical benefits of marijuana for seriously ill patients. A summary of the law is available here.
Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Moody previously proposed a key bill, which would have replaced criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of up to $250. Despite a powerful hearing in support of this sensible bill, HB 507, it fell short when time ran out at the end of the session. The bill would have allowed individuals to avoid arrest, possible jail time, and the stigma of a criminal conviction for possessing a small amount of marijuana. We expect a similar bill will be introduced during the next session in 2017.
According to a June 2015 poll conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune, 68% of Texans support our efforts to reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession.
Get involved with Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy
MPP has begun a multi-year legislative campaign in Texas to improve state laws related to marijuana. We’re working in concert with like-minded groups to reduce criminal penalties for possession and to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program that doesn’t leave many seriously ill patients behind. Please visit TexasMarijuanaPolicy.org to get involved with the coalition — Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
Please also subscribe to our free email alerts to stay up to date on the status of marijuana policy reform in Texas. If you are a current or former law enforcement official, patient, medical professional, or clergy member, please email us to learn how you can get involved.