Cannabis bills the right way to go

The current Texas Legislature is considering changes to the marijuana policy in Texas. House Bill 81, offered by Rep. Joe Moody and Jason Isaac, proposes a reduction of penalties for low-level marijuana possession with no arrest, no jail time and no criminal record.

A similar bill was proposed two years ago, when the legislature last met however the session ended before a vote could be held.

This bill would reduce the backlog of cases in the courts and allow enforcement to concentrate on other worse crimes.

Another bill, House Bill 2107, was authored by District 38 Rep. Eddie Lucio III of Brownsville.

This bill, which has bipartisan support, proposes changes in the Compassionate Use Program (Texas’ medical cannabis program) to correct flawed language in the bill add qualifying conditions and make this program more inclusive.

This bill, if passed, would make this herbal medicine available to more Texans and make it unnecessary for people to go to other states to obtain the medicine they need.

A similar bill is also introduced in the Texas Senate (Senate Bill 269) Another bill, House Bill 780 prevents communities from adopting zoning ordinances that would have the effect of prohibiting use, cultivating and dispensing of medically-approved high CDB/low THS cannabis, which was approved in the last legislative session.

Amendments to the Texas Constitution are also being discussed that would establish a retail market for adult use of cannabis (Senate Joint Resolution 17 and House Joint Resolution 46) and other instructs the legislature to set up a comprehensive medical cannabis program for the state (Senate joint resolution 18).

These resolutions, if passed, would require a vote by the people of Texas in 2018 to go into effect.

Changes in these laws are way past due. A large majority of Texans support the legalized medical use of cannabis and most would like to see the changes proposed in the above named bills.

I urge everyone to contact your State Representative and Senator and let them know you are in favor of these changes in state law.

Law enforcement should spend its time and resources on other crime prevention and not on victimless crimes such as cannabis possession and use.

Let’s allow Texans to have access to this herbal medicine and bring Texas into the 21st century with a more responsible marijuana policy.

Drew Bennie San Benito