Texas MMJ News

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On Monday, Texas House lawmakers accomplished an historic first for the state. They voted to approve a partial decriminalization bill that would have reduced penalties for the possession of small quantities of cannabis. But as soon as the House sent the measure to the Senate, Lt. Gov. of Texas and Senate President Dan Patrick declared the bill dead. Patrick’s comments came on the heels of a similar statement from Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chair John Whitmire, who told reporters there wasn’t “an appetite” for marijuana reform in the upper chamber. Advocates of the decriminalization measure had already compromised on the bill to get it through the House. And in the wake of Patrick’s declaration, they’re vowing to find common ground with Senate opposition.

Watered-Down Decriminalization Bill Still Too Extreme for Texas Senators

House Bill 63 is sponsored by Texas state Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), a lawmaker who has been trying for years to ease Texas’ harsh criminalization of cannabis. This time around, Moody succeeded in getting his bill through the conservative Texas House by proposing a watered-down version of his original decriminalization bill.

Initially, Rep. Moody proposed replacing criminal penalties for minor cannabis possession entirely. House Bill 63, in

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A bill that effectively decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana was approved on Monday by the Texas House of Representatives. Under the measure, House Bill 63, a fine of up to $500 would be imposed for possession of one ounce or less of cannabis, rather than jail time. HB 63 was passed by the House with a vote of 98-43 and must be approved by the body with a second vote, a step usually viewed as a formality, before heading to the state Senate.

The bill changes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor. An earlier version of the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Joe Moody would have classified possessing small amounts of cannabis as a civil infraction, but Moody amended the measure on the House floor to achieve more support.

“I’m not going to sacrifice the good for the perfect. If this is what we can do, then this is what we must do,” Moody said. “We can’t keep hauling 75,000 Texans to jail every year.”

Moody responded to criticism that the bill had been “watered down” by telling his colleagues in the House that he

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Home»News»Marijuana penalty reduction bill passes Texas House Stephen Carter 2019-04-29

The Texas House of Representatives has voted to decrease the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor. This marks the first time since the 1970s that legislation to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession has been voted on by the House.

Propelled forward by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and numerous activists around the state, HB 63 passed the Texas House today by a vote of 98-43. It makes possession of an ounce or less a maximum $500 fine with no arrest, and has a provision which would prevent the loss of a defendant’s drivers license and allow for a quick expungement. This reduces the penalty from a Class B misdemeanor, which allows for a fine up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail.

The legislation now moves to the Senate, where Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will be able to decide whether the Senate will be able to vote on the matter.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has signaled that he is in support of the bill, which was heavily amended after being heard in committee and when brought to the House floor in order to gain his support. Most notably, the bill originally would have allowed possession of an ounce or less to be a civil fine with no criminal record, though Abbott is reportedly opposed to such a measure.

Members of law enforcement were at the capitol this year to oppose HB 63, arguing that it’s a slippery slope to legalization.

Arguments during the House hearing for HB 63 included comments from Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Rosenberg) who states that the bill amounted to legalization for rich people who can afford to pay the fines and keep consuming marijuana. Moody

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Hamilton’s second licensed cannabis store is open for business.

The Hello Cannabis Store, located on Cootes Drive in Dundas, officially opened its doors to customers on Friday morning.

Santino Coppolino, who was one of two Hamiltonians selected in the province’s cannabis retail lottery, said he’s excited to work with Hello Cannabis, which has run a medicinal cannabis clinic in Dundas for years.

– Read the entire article at Global News.

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Stephen Carter 2019-04-24

The Texas House of Representatives has passed legislation legalizing the cultivation of hemp, and it is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Greg Abbott.

HB 1325, authored by Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville), would allow Texas farmers to begin growing the crop. Hemp products have already been legal to possess, though the plant had to be imported from other countries. The unofficial vote count showed unanimous support on the House floor, with 144 voting in favor, and one legislator present and not voting.

This follows the federal government legalizing the growing of hemp late last year. The plant has often been confused with the marijuana plant, both of which are from the cannabis plant family and have some similar characteristics, though hemp does not have enough THC to produce a euphoric effect.

Concerns about the hiding of marijuana within hemp crops have subsided over the years, as hemp would effectively cross-pollinate and choke out any nearby marijuana crops. There are still issues with law enforcement not having the training or the tools to tell one plant from another, as there have been instances where entire shipments of hemp have been detained and those transporting it arrested.

Similar legislation had been proposed during the 2017 legislation session, though it never went anywhere as state officials feared running afoul of federal law.

Hemp was originally made illegal to grow in 1970 due to its similarities to marijuana.

The following two tabs change content below. Stephen Carter Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009 and serves on the board of directors for Texas NORML as an advisor. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in

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Stephen Carter 2019-04-24

A bill which would decrease the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana will be heard by the Texas House of Representatives. This marks the first time since 1974 that marijuana possession penalties in Texas could decrease.

HB 63, authored by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) would change the penalty from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor, which effectively ends arrests for small amounts of marijuana. Instead, a fine would be issued, and any marijuana would be seized by law enforcement. If the bill stays in its current form, there would be no criminal record for the first two offenses. Additionally, Texans would no longer have their drivers license suspended for possession. Currently, a drug conviction would automatically cause a drivers license suspension, whether there was a vehicle involved or not.

State law currently classifies possession of two ounces or less of marijuana as a Class B misdemeanor which carries up to a $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail, and a permanent criminal record which hinders access to educational and employment opportunities.

The bill passed out of committee on a 5-2 vote and currently has the official bipartisan support of 45 legislators as both authors and coauthors.

Reducing the penalty for marijuana possession has gained support from both Gov. Greg Abbott, who stated he was open to changes to the law during his re-election bid last year, and as an official plank in the Republican Party of Texas platform.

“One thing I don’t want to see is jails stockpiled with people who have possession of small amounts of marijuana. What I would be open to talking to the legislature about would be reducing the penalty for possession of two ounces or less from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class

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The Texas House of Representatives approved a bill on Tuesday to legalize hemp agriculture in the state. The measure, House Bill 1325 (HB1325), also removes hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances and legalizes cannabidiol, or CBD, and products made with the cannabinoid. The bill was passed without opposition via a voice vote and will have to be approved by the House in a second vote that is usually only a formality. The bill will then head to the Texas Senate for consideration.

Gene Hall, a spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau, said that legalizing hemp will give the state’s farmers a new option for their operations.

“There’s no good reason for Texas farmers and ranchers not to have hemp as a crop option,” said Hall. “I suspect a lot of farmers will choose this option once it’s available. It’s a drought-tolerant crop and can be grown anywhere where cropping is prevalent right now.”

HB1325 has the support of many lawmakers and government officials in Texas’ majority Republican Party, including state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who has pledged to “support any bill that helps Texas agriculture.”

If the bill is successful, Miller and the Department of Agriculture would be

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Home»Opinion»Politics: You can’t always get what you want Stephen Carter 2019-04-22

You will rarely, if ever, get what you want in politics. This is a hard fact that anyone who ever participates in the political process should come to terms with.

Politics is about compromise, and it’s downright maddening at times. First, you’ll need to compromise with the candidate you want to support because you won’t agree completely with them, then you’ll need to compromise with all of the other voters and come to a decision on who will be on the ballot, then compromise again to see who wins. Whoever wins will then need to compromise with whoever else they have to work with. Unfortunately, once you throw in special interests who have more power than the average voter, there is even further compromise. You can see at this point just how far away from your original position you now are in order to get anything done.

If you think you’re going to jump into politics, whether it’s as a candidate or activist, and immediately make changes, you should be prepared for a serious shock and the inevitable feelings of failure and hopelessness. The process is an ultra-marathon, one in which you will not be able to see the finish line at the start of the race, or even half way through the race. It is a slog, beset with pitfalls and long detours. Right when you think you have something, everything changes, typically due to some unseen power and compromise at play. Note that I did not say unforeseen, as once you get settled in and understand how the process works, you either see these things coming, or at least know they are coming even when you don’t see them.

Politics requires hard work, sacrifice, dedicating numerous

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Texas may see the expansion of its medical marijuana program beyond its current restriction to low THC cannabis oil for those with severe forms of epilepsy. A bill is waiting to be scheduled for floor vote in the House that would add qualifying conditions to the program, in addition to forms in which patients are able to access the drug.

Among the conditions that House Bill 1365 would authorize for entry into the program include PTSD, Alzheimer’s, cancer, less severe forms of epilepsy, and tendency to be nauseous with other forms of treatment. It would also authorize the use of cannabis via vaping, creams, and oils — though smoking will still be off the table should it pass. It would also establish more opportunities to conduct research on cannabis.

“Texans with debilitating conditions deserve treatments that improve their quality of life,” commented the bill’s sponsor Rep. Eddie Lucio in a Facebook post announcing the proposed legislation. In a press release announcing the proposed legislation he noted that 33 states in the country allow medical cannabis, and that taxes associated with such programs can have “a vital impact to our economy.”

The legislation is supported by 56 state legislators from both

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One day, about 2,500 years ago in western China, a man was laid in his grave.

A wooden bed was placed in the grave under him, and a pillow of reeds under his head.

Around him, they placed earthenware pots, and on top of him, as a blanket or shroud, they laid 13 fully grown, uprooted female Cannabis indica plants, with their roots placed below his pelvis, and the branches and flowers extending toward his face.

In a nearby grave, archaeologists found another man with what they called “a large supply” of dried flower, some in a wooden bowl close to his body, and more in a leather basket. Given the presence of THC, they decided the flowers were used for “pharmaceutical, psychoactive, or divinatory purposes.”

– Read the entire article at Global News.

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