Texas – There are signs that additional steps will be taken in the coming months and years which could result in either a more comprehensive medical marijuana bill or outright, full-blown recreational legalization.
According to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, more than half of registered voters in the state believe marijuana should be legalized, with only 16 percent saying possession of marijuana should remain illegal under any circumstances.
Back in 2015 a state representative by the name of David Simpson, a Tea Party-backed conservative, proposed a bill which would have legalized recreational cannabis in Texas. Simpson’s argument? “I don’t believe that when God made marijuana, he made a mistake that government needs to fix.”
Although the bill gained a majority of support in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, it died before making it to the floor for a vote, as lawmakers had other priorities for the session.
That same year, however, governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which passed the House by a nearly three-to-one margin. As mentioned above, the law allowed the use of low-THC CBD oil to treat intractable epilepsy — nothing else. Upon signing the bill, Abbott claimed, “I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana, nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes.”
Some local jurisdictions in Texas have fully or partially decriminalized the possession of marijuana for personal use. For example, in 2017, Dallas decided to decriminalize cannabis and began issuing citations, rather than arresting those caught in public with less than four ounces of marijuana.