Marijuana is displayed on a table. (AP Photo/News Herald, Patti Blake)
Three Republican lawmakers have signed on as co-authors to a bill that would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, making it a ticketed offense.
Reps. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, David Simpson, R-Longview, and Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, joined 35 House Democrats in supporting a proposal by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, to make possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine of no more than $250.
Hughes said he believes other Republicans will support the measure because it’s a smart approach to dealing with crime.
“If we can intercept these people before they get in the system and before they have a real drug problem and get them some help and keep them out of that criminal justice system then everybody wins,” Hughes said. “It’s good for them, it saves the tax payers money, everybody wins.”
Hughes said Moody’s bill was in line with drug courts and diversion programs supported by the House in the past.
Strickland agreed that decriminalization was the tough on crime position because it will free up space in state jails to house violent offenders for longer. He believes measures like Moody’s are what Texans want.
“I think the politicians here in Austin are far behind what the people of Texas want,” Stickland said. “I hope more Republicans stop and take a look at this.”
Simpson authored a separate bill that would remove all mention of marijuana from criminal statutes, making it legal by default. Hughes said he wouldn’t support that measure, but acknowledged that it helped start a necessary discussion.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.Read More