‘Legalize it!’: Texas lawmakers begin pre-filing bills to decriminalize marijuana in the state

Marijuana is legal in some form in 38 states, but Texas is not one of them…yet.

Nine new bills were introduced this week to help legalize marijuana in the state, including one from state Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez that would allow for both medical and recreational use if passed.

“Texas will be facing tremendous budgetary challenges next session,” Gutierrez wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. “My bill [SB 140] would create 30,000 new jobs for our state and produce $3.2 billion in new revenue WITHOUT raising taxes on everyday Texans! It’s time to join 38 other states and #LegalizeIt!”

According to Marijuana Moment’s Ben Adlin, legal sales under Gutierrez’s legislation would be subject to a 10 percent sales tax that would fund schools, border security and local law enforcement.

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Other bills would repeal penalties for small amounts of marijuana, reverse an automatic driver’s license ban for drivers caught in possession of marijuana, and ask voters to decide next November whether to legalize marijuana and legalize high-THC cannabis for medical use.

“Why is this the one medical therapy where legislators feel they should be telling doctors how to practice medicine?” Democratic State Senator Jose Menendez, who introduced SB 90, asked, as reported by KHOU (Fox 26)’s Marin Austin.

SB 90 aims to authorize the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation and delivery of medical marijuana, according to Texas’ Marijuana tracking tool, and if passed, patients would be able to get a prescription for any condition their doctor sees necessary.

Following a bill that was signed into Texas law last year, only low-THC cannabis-0.5 percent to be exact-can be prescribed to treat certain conditions, including multiple and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, terminal cancer and autism.

Monday was just day one of lawmakers being allowed to pre-file legislation for the January 2021 session, so it’s likely more marijuana-related bills will be introduced in the coming weeks. If passed, the new laws would officially go into effect in September 2021.

ShaCamree Gowdy