Now a committee chairman, Democrat Joe Moody is leading the charge, but is his plan for pot policy reform just a pipe dream? Now a committee chairman, Democrat Joe Moody is leading the charge, but is his plan for pot policy reform just a pipe dream?
For the past few years, efforts to decriminalize marijuana have smoldered in the Capitol only to burn out at the end of each session. Conditions might be ripe for them to catch fire in the House this year, even though they’ll likely be snuffed out in the Senate.
“The conversation is getting louder on this side of the building,” state Representative Joe Moody, D-El Paso, told the Observer. “This is an issue that has bipartisan support among the people we represent. Unfortunately, it’s the lawmakers who are last across the finish line on this.”
Sam DeGrave State Representative Joe Moody, D-El Paso (right)
Moody, the new chairman of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, wants to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a fine-only offense. Under Moody’s House Bill 81, anyone busted with an ounce of marijuana or less would be subject to a civil citation — similar to a parking ticket — and a fine of up to $250. No arrest, no jail time, no criminal record.
Under current law, a conviction for possession of 2 ounces of marijuana or less — a Class B misdemeanor — can land you in jail for up to six months and a carry a