On Wednesday, Texas House of Representative members gave preliminary approval to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. The legislation, House Bill 218 was approved on the second reading by members. There was a voice vote on Wednesday afternoon which was also approved leaving one last vote in the chamber before final passage.
This bill was passed unanimously by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last month. This bill would allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis concentrate. This new law would change cannabis possession to a misdemeanor not subject to arrest.
Instead, a fine of up to $500 could be imposed.
“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,’” Democratic state Rep. Joe Moody said.
This legislation also reduces other marijuana crimes. Possession of one to two ounces of marijuana is now not subject to arrest. Possession of two to four ounces of marijuana has been downgraded to a Class A misdemeanor. There are also provisions to provide expungement of past marijuana possession convictions within the legislation.
Currently in Texas any possession of marijuana over four ounces is a felony. Lesser amounts of possession are still misdemeanors but include possible jail time and heavy fines of up to $4,000.
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