FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Austin, TX – May 5, 2015 – A bill reducing penalties for marijuana possession was given new life after being reconsidered and voted out of Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Monday evening in the Texas House. House Bill 507, filed by Representative Joe Moody (D-El Paso), would create a civil penalty for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Under current law, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by arrest, up to six months behind bars, and a permanent record.
Voting for the bill were Chairman Herrero (D-Corpus Christi), Vice Chair Moody, Representative Canales (D-Edinburg), and Representative Simpson (R-Longview); against the bill were Representative Leach (R-Plano) and Representative Shaheen (R-Plano); not present was Chairman Hunter (R-Corpus Christi).
On Friday, May 1, three marijuana bills were voted down, including Moody’s and two bills that would reduce small amounts of marijuana possession from a class B to a class C misdemeanor. Chairman Herrero reconsidered and voted favorably for HB 507 on Monday alongside Representative Canales, who had not been present at the Friday vote.
The bill must quickly pass through Calendars Committee to be debated on the House floor. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 1417, the companion to Moody’s, has been assigned to the Criminal Justice Committee, but has not come up for a hearing.
“RAMP continues to bring the simple message to Republican offices that $250 million dollars per year and an estimated 50,000 criminal convictions do not produce the desired outcome of lower rates of marijuana use,” said John Baucum, RAMP political director. “Marijuana is not a minor issue. It is a major expenditure, and the policy is not working.”
Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) is a nonprofit organization working to educate and connect with Republican lawmakers, party leadership, and grassroots activists on marijuana issues. We support efforts to bring marijuana out of the black-market to be regulated for medical care and adult recreational use. RAMP was founded in 2012 by Bob and Ann Lee. Learn more at www.RAMPGOP.org.