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Legal Marijuana In Texas? Any Day Now


Dan Patrick, the one person preventing legalization

I was just in Thailand for a couple of weeks. I haven’t been there since the advent of COVID. The biggest change I could see was that marijuana is now legal. On June 9, 2022, it went from very strictly illegal to no-holds-barred legal for anyone over 20. A month earlier the government announced that it would distribute a million free ganja plants to households. Thailand had two reasons— to help lure tourists back to the country post-COVID and the boost cannabis as a cash crop. You can’t walk down a block in Bangkok without seeing a pot shop. They’re everywhere now.


The movement to legalize marijuana in the U.S. started bearing fruit in 2012 when Colorado and Washington voters approved ballot measures to legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana for people over 21, the first states to do so. Recreational marijuana use is now also legal in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, DC, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Illinois, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Missouri, Delaware and… Minnesota, Ohio soon and Texas soon. In fact, the Texas House passed a legalization bill Wednesday. (South Dakota voters also voted to legalize it but the GOP Establishment opposed it and got the state Supreme Court to overturn the decision, tell the voters there to go pound sand.)


The Texas House has passed legalization legislation before but the Lt. Governor, right-wing crackpot Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, opposes it and got the Senate to reject it— despite that fact that 72% of Texans favor decriminalization. 55% say cannabis possession should be legal for any purpose. Another 28% said marijuana should be legal for medical purposes only, and only 17% oppose any kind of legalization. The Texas GOP adopted a platform plank endorsing decriminalization in 2018, but that was later rescinded.


Ground Game Texas was very active in putting together local marijuana referendums all over the state, all of which were successful. Yesterday, Julie Oliver, executive director of that organization told me that “Common sense legislation on cannabis possession is exactly the sort of bills that our legislators should be churning out instead of stunt bills that harm individuals. So while I'm proud that Rep. Moody from El Paso has for years advocated for and advanced this legislation in the Texas House, unfortunately this bill will die in the Senate because of one extremist— Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick— who dictates what will come to the floor for a vote. Meanwhile every state that shares a border with Texas has some form of cannabis legalization, and those states have seen their economies and their tax base grow exponentially."


On Wednesday, Forbes reported that the bill that passed the House this week “would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis concentrate. Such possession would be reclassified as a Class C misdemeanor, a citable offense not subject to arrest and carrying a fine of up to $500. ‘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 at a committee hearing for the legislation in March.”


Moody, the bill’s sponsor, also said that “There are tens of thousands of arrests for personal use possession in Texas annually and those cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars every single year, not to mention countless hours of law enforcement and prosecutor time. They also tag people, mostly young people, with criminal records that create life-long obstacles to jobs, education, housing and other opportunities. That’s an awful investment and an awful outcome any way you slice it.”


The progressive candidate for a congressional seat in Houston, Pervez Agwan-- endorsed by Blue America-- told me yesterday that "House Bill 218 is a step in the right direction. There is no reason that anyone should have their life destroyed from the penalties imposed by an outdated and politically charged drug war. The current system, which disproportionately targets young people and minority groups, only serves to feed Texas' for-profit prison industrial complex and put nonviolent, largely law-abiding citizens in the same camp as real criminals. Not only do we need to end cannabis prohibition in the Lone Star State, we need to erase people's existing possession-related criminal charges and convictions so that they can get a job, buy a house, and apply for a loan without fear of being rejected because they consumed cannabis. Honestly, it feels ridiculous that we are still needing to have this conversation in 2023."



5 Comments


Jesse Salisbury
Jesse Salisbury
Apr 29, 2023

its about control. we need to vote all these tyrants out .

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Guest
Apr 30, 2023
Replying to

yes. people like me who are not democraps and WILL stand up for the constitution, rule of law and will legislate and re-legislate controls on capital, rights and privileges for everyone the nazis have marginalized (and your democraps have refused to stand up for)? that would work.


but it's beyond the capabilities of all americans given their very limited potential... clearly.


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Guest
Apr 28, 2023

wanna bet?

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