Texas is not exactly famous for having lax marijuana laws, but recently there are some signs that the Texas Legislature might be leaning towards reform. In the past session, there were some early signs of change. A bill that aimed to reduce penalties for people caught with small amounts of pot made it further than any past reforms at the state level. Additionally, the state passed its first medical marijuana law, which will allow a very limited amount of treatment for a small group of patients.
There are also some signs that prominent figures in Texas law enforcement might be changing their perspective on certain drug laws.
A Changing Perspective on Texas Marijuana Laws?
The numbers are suggesting that law enforcement in many major Texan cities are changing their strategy towards the drug. Some police chiefs have openly criticized the laws, while other departments are lowering the priority of enforcing these crimes.
In 2011, Texas prosecutors dismissed 23 percent of misdemeanor cannabis cases. More liberal areas such as Travis County dismissed as many as half of these cases. In addition to a more liberal bent in urban areas, there is also a growing fiscal concern from conservatives about the costs of fighting these crimes. The combination of these mindsets could mean new drug laws in the lonestar state.
For example, a state representative from El Paso is proposing a bill that would make huge reductions in penalties for people arrested with small amounts of marijuana. The law would replace jail time and a $2,000 fine with a $250 fine. Of course, the bill hasn’t passed, but the fact that reforms such as these are now gaining traction in the Texas statehouse might be a sign of a new perspective on how to handle marijuana crimes.
While Texas remains one of the stricter states when it comes to marijuana laws, changes might be on the way. In the meantime, it’s important to remember that this substance is against the law. If you are arrested for marijuana possession, you should take this very seriously. Contact an attorney before you speak to law enforcement.