Historically, Texas has been a national leader in arrests for marijuana possession, earning second in 2010 with over 74,000 arrests. And now, as the political opinion toward cannabis becomes more lenient, many offenders incarcerated under the older, harsher laws are still in prison.
Since Texas’s Compassionate Use Act, legislation liberalizing regulation of the sale, use and manufacturing of cannabis and related products, has slowly garnered bipartisan support. The Act, which allows limited prescription of low-THC cannabis for certain epilepsy patients. It’s a forerunner for cannabis legalization law, just as the similar Proposition 215 of California was in 1996.
Although they did not pass, bills like HB 81 sought to lower the criminal charge for possession under an ounce, and two bills attempted to make medical marijuana more accessible. Several of these even boasted bipartisan authorship, showing support on both sides of the aisle. All of these policies seek to address future sale and usage of cannabis. Legislation so far has lacked a push for liberating offenders currently serving time under more severe sentences, despite changing attitudes.
One critic of sentence reduction legislation is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who believes that only those who are guilty would request a pardon, the step necessary to change someone’s record. This thinking is in line with his ‘hard no’ philosophy on