The Texas state House of Representatives has passed legislation decriminalizing possession of cannabis and greatly expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.
These are the newest advances in a period in which the chamber has seen several articles of progressive legislation advance, including different bills to minimize penalties for acquiring cannabis concentrates and to mandate the state to research the medicinal properties of psychedelics such as MDMA and psilocybin.
Rep. Erin Zwiener (D) sponsored the legislation that would decriminalize possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, rendering it a class C crime without the possibility of jail time. The measure would also eliminate the possibility of being convicted for low-level possession and enable individuals to escape prosecution through deferrals and dismissals.
The House approved a different medical cannabis extension bill with a 134-12 vote. The bill would expand the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s narrow medical cannabis system to include cancer, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The bill also allows the Department of State Health Services to use administrative rulemaking to introduce more qualified criteria. In addition, the THC limit on medical cannabis items will be raised from 0.5 percent to 5%.
Both bills are now on the way to the state Senate for consideration.