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Could Texas Be the Next State to Decriminalize Marijuana?

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Texas Senator Jose Menendez will file a bill to legalize medical marijuana. KHOU reports the people who would qualify would be those suffering from debilitating and chronic medical conditions, including cancer, PTSD, HIV and Parkinson’s, among others. 

The bill does not specify how much cannabis patients could receive nor the form of cannabis product. A network of private dispensaries would distribute the cannabis to patients.

Sen. Menendez believes the bill could pass even with the strict conservative legislature. Gov. Abbott has said publicly that he will not allow medical marijuana while he is in office. 

On Election Day, residents in multiple states voted to decriminalize marijuana. California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts joined Colorado and Washington in the growing list of states that will now allow recreational use. Over in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas, voters chose to make medicinal use legal. Now, it looks like Texas legislators are hoping to move forward with decriminalizing marijuana in the Lone Star State.

On Nov. 14, legislators turned in their bill proposals for 2017. Among them were several different initiatives seeking to decriminalize pot. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the traditionally Red state will pass any of them, though.

It’s worth noting that Texas lawmakers turned down a handful of bills looking to do the exact same thing just last year. However, with so many other states embracing pot use and possession, maybe Texas is ready to make a change as well. Texas State Rep. Jason Isaac told the Texas Tribune that he believes small amounts of marijuana could be decriminalized next year thanks to other states paving the way.

One of the bill proposals submitted for 2017 is House Bill 58 by state Rep. James White. This bill suggests trying first-time marijuana users found with less than an ounce in a specialty court. Another bill wants to chuck out criminal penalties for possession of under an ounce and issue monetary fines instead.

Most notably, Senator José Rodríguez filed a Resolution that would let voters themselves decide whether or not to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. This is the trend we’ve been seeing across the country, so it may stand a chance at passing.

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Could Texas Be the Next State to Decriminalize Marijuana?