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Rep.Zwiener, Erin

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Texas House Passes Bill Softening Marijuana Penalties  print page

by: Rep. Zwiener, Erin
04/30/2019

Austin, TX — The Texas House today passed legislation coauthored by State Representative Erin Zwiener (Driftwood) that would soften the penalties for those possessing small amounts of cannabis. Authored by Rep. Joseph Moody (El Paso), House Bill 63 lessens the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, which is currently set at up to $2,000 in fines and 180 days of jail time, to a Class C misdemeanor with fines not exceeding $500 and no possibility of incarceration. Studies have shown Texas incarcerates nearly 75,000 individuals each year for marijuana possession, one of the highest rates in the nation.

“An arrest for carrying small amounts of cannabis should not derail someone’s life, make them lose their driver’s license, or give them difficulty finding a job or housing,” said Rep. Zwiener. “That is why I believe in Texas we should fully decriminalize cannabis. House Bill 63 moves us in that direction, treats Texans more compassionately, and takes a critical step toward a fairer criminal justice system.”

An advocate for patient rights, Rep. Zwiener is also a co-author on HB 1365 by Representative Eddie Lucio III (Brownsville), which would authorize the use of medical cannabis for patients with certain debilitating medical conditions. Rep. Zwiener also filed HB 4145 to prohibit a practitioner from refusing to treat a patient or prescribe a controlled substance for pain treatment if the results of a drug test show cannabidiol in the patient’s system. HB 4145 is scheduled for a hearing with the House Committee on Public Health tomorrow, May 1.

“There are so many people, including veterans and those with chronic pain, that would benefit from the use of cannabis,” said Rep. Zwiener. “People should not be denied those benefits simply because some legislators do not understand cannabis and its benefits to Texans. This session, I am hopeful we will make substantial progress on the access to medical marijuana and marijuana decriminalization.”

Contact: Graham Senor

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