We are excited to report that House Bill 184 (the “Decrim Bill”), which would reduce the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, has been voted out of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee with a vote of 6-3! Click here to view the history of the bill.
The Author of HB 184 and the Members of the Committee worked together and agreed on a committee substitute of the Bill. In order to get the legislation moved forward, the wording was changed and the proposed law is now limited to youthful, first-time offenders. While this is a small step in the process of legalization in Texas, it speaks volumes to the winds of change in our state. One of our many talking points is getting through to both Democrats and Republicans! Both sides worked together on a concern they agreed on, to lessen the number of young people having their futures altered for a first time non-violent offense. This is an amazing step for Texas, we’re certain our education campaign and hard work has helped the wind change direction!
For the first time, we could have the opportunity for a debate on this issue before the full House of Representatives. That would mean your State Representative and everyone else’s would finally be involved in the conversation, and you can ask how they will vote! But first, the next milestone is to make it through the Calendars Committee, which handles scheduling. We only have one month remaining in the session, and are aware that thousands of bills have been filed, but we are hopeful that the Committee will move the Bill forward to that unprecedented next step, a hearing on the House floor.
Texas NORML continues to support medical use as well as the full re-legalization of cannabis for responsible adults. We agree that this is not the “perfect” bill, but it is also not the final word on cannabis law reform in Texas. We still have a lot of work to do next session no matter what! But, if this Bill were to make it to Governor Perry in this amended form, it would finally offer protection to someone! Before we get to that step, we want to get the Bill to the House floor so we can see where the Representatives really stand on common sense drug reform.
We must recognize our victories and this is a huge one for Texas NORML, the State of Texas and for YOU! The conversations with lawmakers have been developing, they are interested and willing to work with us and each other! We have been taken more seriously and have built important relationships this session. This Bill, although a small step, provides a route in continuing the discussion with our Representatives.
If you have questions or concerns about what HB 184 does or does not do, please contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org.