It is no secret that Texas is one of the most conservative states in the entire country. As such, the state still looks like it is far away from any type of marijuana reform. This disappointing news came out when at the end of April, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick declared that he would not consider any bill or measure that looked to change the state’s laws on marijuana. It was discouraging for many, including the Texas House, as the chamber had just approved a bill that would lower criminal penalties for those found with small amounts of marijuana.
“It is time for Texas to fall in line with the times, and with what is happening in much of the country,” said Douglas Wilder from The Wilder Law Firm. “Marijuana is no longer considered the dangerous drug it once was. The medicinal benefits have been proven, and states such as Colorado that have legalized it even for recreational purposes, have seen a boost in their economy.”
House Bill 63, sponsored by Representative Joe Moody, would not have legalized marijuana in any form. It would have simply dropped criminal penalties for those found in possession of small amounts of the drug. Under the bill, those found in possession of one ounce or less would face charges of a Class C misdemeanor instead of a Class B. A Class C misdemeanor in the state is equivalent to a fine for a traffic ticket.
Unfortunately, before the bill was even debated in the Senate, Lt. Governor Patrick declared the bill dead. It was not the first time the Lt. Governor has spoken out against marijuana reform. He has said previously in the past that he does not believe marijuana has any medicinal benefits, and that, like so many others, he believes it is a gateway drug that leads to things such as opioid addiction.
This latest news is disheartening for marijuana advocates, and those that rely on the drug to treat specific conditions and illnesses. Unfortunately, as long as Lt. Governor Patrick has anything to say about it, Texas may not see anything in the way of marijuana reform.