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Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather Saturday For Advocacy Training

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform advocates -- including an active-duty Dallas police officer -- will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce in Tyler.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the fourth in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Houston on December 12, Amarillo on January 9, and Lubbock on January 10.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Nick Novello, an officer with the Dallas Police Department and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 3:30 p.m. CT, and he will be available for interviews immediately after.

“I work toward marijuana legalization because, as an active police officer, I have an obligation to improve public safety and protect my community,” Officer Novello said. “Regulation and education will focus police resources on more important crimes and make the drug more difficult for children to get. By every measure, marijuana prohibition has failed. Safer communities are within reach.”

Texas: House Committee Approves Bill To Make Marijuana Legal For Adults

TexasMadeOutOfCannabisLeaves[KISS-FM]

The Texas House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Wednesday approved a bill 5-1 that would end marijuana prohibition in the state.

HB 2165, introduced in March by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), would strike references to marijuana offenses from Texas statutes, resulting in marijuana being treated similarly to other legal crops.

Nearly three out of five Texas voters (58 percent) support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol, according to a statewide survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in September 2013.

Four states have adopted laws that regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. Two of them, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated systems of marijuana cultivation and sales. Alaska and Oregon are in the process of implementing similar systems.

“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered in the Lone Star State," said Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Texas voters recognize that punishing adults for consuming a substance that is safer than alcohol is a waste of law enforcement resources and an affront to individual liberty. It appears most of the committee members agree.

“State officials are increasingly becoming fed up with the failed federal government policy of marijuana prohibition, and they’re taking action," Fazio said. "Like most Americans, most Texans are ready for a more sensible, fiscally sound marijuana policy.”

Texas: House Committee Takes Up 3 Bills On Marijuana Reform

TexasMarijuanaFlag

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Three bills taking different approaches to reforming marijuana laws in Texas got a hearing before the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence last week.

Supporters packed the only committee hearing scheduled on the bills in either chamber, reports Stanton Brashier at the Dallas Observer. Other hearings this session are seen as unlikely.

The first two bills, HB 325 and HB 414, would reduce possession about about nine grams of marijuana -- 0.35 ounces -- to a class C misdemeanor from its current status as a class B misdemeanor. They'd also drop possession of two ounces to a class B misdemeanor and under four ounces to a class A misdemeanor. These bills are backed by Reps. Harold Dutton Jr., and Gene Wu, respectively, both of Houston.

HB 507, from Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso, would reduce penalties for possession of less than an ounce of cannabis to a $100 fine and no jail time. "As a lawmaker, I have a responsibility to make sure we're spending our resources wisely and treating our people fairly," Moody said. "That's what HB 507 is about."

HB 2165, from Rep. David Simpson of Tyler, would effectively legalize marijuana with little regulation, "like tomatoes or jalapenos." Shaun McAlister, director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said this one could be a stepping stone to more reform.

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