Multiple Bills Filed In Texas In Attempt To Legalize Cannabis
More than a dozen bills have been introduced into the Texas legislature that would legalize or decriminalize marijuana in the state. Five states voted in favor of legalizing marijuana in the last election, bringing the number of states that have fully legalized marijuana use to 15, and 34 have legalized it for medical use, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, 54 percent of Texas voters want marijuana legalized, up from 45 percent in 2012. “Finally, we're seeing federal and state politicians talking about repealing marijuana prohibition”, said Michael Bloomberg, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance in Texas.
People in Texas overwhelmingly want a change to marijuana laws that would allow patients safe access to the drug if their doctors believe it can help them. Fazio has been campaigning for years to expand the marijuana law in Texas, saying that we now see a majority of Americans and Texans supporting the repeal of the marijuana ban and pushing for a more sensible approach to regulation. Recalling the economic blow the state has suffered from the pandemic, he said legalizing weed could give the economy a jump forward.
Texas police arrested more than 45,000 people last year on charges of marijuana possession, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. At least two bills would allow Texans to have up to 12 cannabis plants in their homes and legalize possession of small amounts of the drug for personal use, but local officials oppose legalization. Dustin Burrows said: "I don't support legalizing marijuana for recreational use and I don't think it will be legalized in the coming session”.
Legalization will lead to a decrease in marijuana arrests in Texas and an increase in drug use among young adults, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“I think that for the first time we will have a meaningful conversation about legalization and, more importantly, we will find common ground on decriminalization and access to health care, so I see a real opportunity here in the legislature”, said Fazio.