The United States has experienced a wave of reform as many states loosened marijuana laws and penalties. For the time being, it seems that Texas will not be joining this wave.
The Texas Senate did not address reform measures that passed the state house. These would have ended drug charges for possession of small amounts of marijuana and expanded medical marijuana access.
In March, a bipartisan group of house members approved a bill in committee that would have decriminalized marijuana possession in Texas. If enacted, the bill would remove the risk of arrest and imprisonment for possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Also, qualified individuals could seek to erase cannabis offenses from their criminal records.
The full house, across party lines, approved this measure in late April.
The state house also approved another measure that would have expanded the Texas Compassionate Use Program. This program now allows physicians to prescribe low-THC marijuana products to patients suffering from, qualifying and debilitating conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
The proposal, authored by Republicans, was intended to provide an alternative to opioid use. Chronic pain would have been added to the list of qualifying medical conditions.
The house passed measure came to a halt in the senate. The Lieutenant Governor exercised his prerogative and refused to include both bills in the Senate’s agenda before Memorial Day. Accordingly, the measures lapsed for this year’s legislative session.
Texans still face the serious legal, financial, and professional consequences for behavior that is decriminalized in much of the nation. They may need to obtain legal representation to assure that their rights are protected and to help reduce these penalties.