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2019 Marijuana Bills Filed in Texas

2019 Marijuana Bills Filed in Texas

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2019 is the year for medical marijuana, ladies and gentleman. So far a total of 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical marijuana. The number of recreational legalization has even risen to a total of 10 states and the District of Columbia. Texas is far behind the trend, only having legalized the use of low THC cannabidiol oil for the treatment of epilepsy only after having trying two other FDA approved medications, without relief. It’s high time Texas hops on the bandwagon and legalizes medical marijuana. That’s what I’m here to discuss today. There are a number of bills that have been filed in support of decriminalization, medical marijuana, and the prescribing of it by doctors. Below is a comprehensive list of all 27 bills filed so far in regards to marijuana reform in 2019. There are a few important bills that I will be focusing on, however, that seem quite promising. The following list was found at Texas Norml.

HB 63 (Rep. Joe Moody) — Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

SB 156 (Sen. Jose Rodríguez) – Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

SB 460 (Sen. Nathan Johnson) – Relating to reducing criminal penalties for possession of marihuana.

SB 90 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

HB 1365 (Rep. Eddie Lucio, III) – Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, processing, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing a fee.

HB 1325 (Rep. Tracy King) – Relating to the production and regulation of hemp and products made from hemp; requiring authorization to produce hemp; authorizing penalties; authorizing fees.

Penalty Reduction

HB 335 (Rep. Harold Dutton) – Relating to the penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marihuana and eligibility for placement on community supervision or on deferred adjudication community supervision for that offense.

HB 371 (Rep. Alma Allen) – Relating to the prosecution of and penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marihuana.

HB 753 (Rep. Gene Wu) – Relating to the prosecution of and penalties for possession of 0.35 ounces or less of marihuana.

HB 1206 (Rep Cole) – Relating to the prosecution of and penalties for possession of marihuana.

Medical Cannabis

SB 400 – (Sen. Royce West) – Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and terminal illnesses and the licensing of dispensing organizations and cannabis testing facilities; authorizing a fee.

HB 209 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

HB 1187 (Rep. Leo Pacheco) – Relating to prescribing low-THC cannabis to certain patients for compassionate use.

HB 1338 (Rep. Leo Pacheco) – Relating to prescribing low-THC cannabis to certain patients for compassionate use.

HB 122 (Rep. Gina Hinojosa) — Relating to the medical use of marihuana; providing an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession of marihuana.

Concentrates

HB 186 (Rep. Terry Canales) — Relating to the determination of the weight of marihuana and other tetrahydrocannabinols for the purpose of the prosecution and punishment of the offense of possession of those substances.

HB 551 (Rep. Terry Canales) – Relating to the prosecution of and criminal penalties for the possession of marihuana concentrate; creating criminal offenses.

Hemp

HB 1230 (Rep Dominguez) – Relating to the production and regulation of hemp.

SB 116 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating to industrial hemp; requiring an occupational license; authorizing fees.

HB 989 (Rep. Ryan Guillen) – Relating to industrial hemp; requiring an occupational license; authorizing fees.

Misc

HB 1013 (Rep. James White) – Relating to repealing automatic driver’s license suspensions for certain drug offenses.

HB 1196 (Rep Meza) – Relating to changing statutory references to marihuana to cannabis.

HB 1228 (Rep Shaheen) – Relating to political subdivision regulations, including zoning rules, concerning the cultivation, production, dispensing, or possession of low-THC cannabis.

Marijuana related joint resolutions:

Medical Use

HJR 21 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

SJR 7 (Sen. Jose Rodríguez) – Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

Retail Adult Use

SJR 8 (Sen. Jose Rodríguez) – Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis.

Misc

HJR 17 (Rep. Richard Peña Raymond) – Proposing a constitutional amendment prohibiting the taxation of the sale or use of certain prescription medicine. This section does not prohibit the legislature from imposing a tax on the sale or use of marijuana.

86th Texas Legislature

So far a whopping 27 bills for marijuana reform have been filed for 2019 (and still counting), ranging from decriminalization all the way to prescribing medical marijuana to patients with debilitating medical conditions. No matter how small of a change each bill makes, each and every one is a step forward towards marijuana legalization. There is certainly something different about this session, I can feel it. With so many other states going legal, Texas is starting to see what exactly it is they’re missing out on. I mean, take a look at all the tax money Colorado is bringing in. According to the Colorado department of revenue, there was a total revenue of $266,529,637 in 2018. I’m not going to list off all 33 other states and their respective marijuana tax revenue, but I’m sure you can imagine that it is just as high if not higher than Colorado.

Compassionate Use Act

Let’s roll back the clock a bit to gather a better understanding of the relatively short timeline we’re looking at here. Back in May 2015, state Rep. Stephanie Klick R-Fort Worth boldly stood before the Texas House in attempt to convince conservative Texas to allow medical marijuana. She was merely fighting for the use of CBD oil, with low amounts of THC, under 0.5 percent. Her argument is not just that it has low risk of abuse, but that it “is not something that can be smoked. It is ingested orally” and you don’t get high on it. After challenging debates, the Compassionate Use Act passed the House, 108-38. Weeks later Governor Greg Abbott signed it into law, though he was not thrilled about it. He’s not convinced at all that Texas should legalize marijuana, even for medicinal purposes. During the signing of the bill Abbott stated “as governor, I will not allow it”. Though it looks like his signing of that bill has possibly opened up doors to a bit more wiggle room with medical marijuana. The Compassionate Use Act was the first major stepping stone for marijuana reform, and it’s not the last. A lot of the bills mentioned above are simply expanding on this bill.

SB90

Fast forward to 2019, where Senator José Menéndez filed SB90, a bill that will expand on the Compassionate Use Act to include many more conditions for which doctors can prescribe marijuana. Such conditions include Crohn’s disease, terminal cancer, autism, PTSD and even severe debilitating pain. The bill would also remove the 0.5 percent limit on the amount of THC allowed in medical marijuana products in Texas. Also, Instead of the politicians deciding what patients deserve medical marijuana care, the bill will leave it up to the doctor’s to decide who needs medical marijuana and who doesn’t. This bill would be a giant leap forward if passed and pave the path to complete medical legalization in Texas.

HB209

Another bill that goes hand in hand with SB90 is HB209, filed by Rep. Ron Reynolds. This bill pertains to authorizing possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients and the licensing of dispensing organizations. Simply put, HB209 would allow prescribed Texas medical marijuana patients to have the right to carry their pot around and even grow their own plants for the treatment of their condition. This bill is my personal favorite. Combined with SB90, this bill would bring Texas to current times in marijuana reform, allowing doctors to prescribe and dispensaries to claim their stake in Texas’ marijuana industry.

The majority of our Texas politicians still hold a conservative approach, and when those non-conservatives vote for laws such as HB209 and SB90, they are scrutinized by their peers. Governor Greg Abbott himself, as I mentioned, currently still holds a strong opposition to medical marijuana and will not allow it to happen while he holds office. Times are changing though, it’s only a matter of time before Trump wakes up one day and decides he should legalize marijuana on the federal level.

When Will Marijuana Be Legal in Texas

Though it looks promising that 2019 will be the year medical marijuana will become legal, keep in mind the opposition marijuana faces. Texas has always taken a conservative approach, there’s no reason to think 2019 will change anything about that. There are many arguments for legalization and against, the best thing you can do is inform your representative of your stance on Marijuana reform. Whether for or against, you can make a difference by contacting them today.