States Push Marijuana Legalization Bills Despite Opposition from the Federal Government

Lawmakers in about two dozen states have proposed bills this year to ease their marijuana laws despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions' warning that he could crack down on pot, a major change from the Obama administration, which essentially turned a blind eye to the state legislation.

Bills have been introduced in 17 states this year to make recreational pot legal for adults, while five others are considering voter referendums on the issue. Sixteen states have introduced medical marijuana legislation, 10 are considering decriminalizing the drug and three are considering easing their penalties. An effort in Wyoming to decriminalize the drug failed this session.


Texas lawmakers weighing flurry of marijuana-related bills

Marijuana has become easy to find at the Texas Capitol — at least in terms of references to the drug.

More than a dozen bills are pending in the Texas Legislature this session, aimed at lifting prohibitions on Texans who want to use marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.

But it remains to be seen if the legislative effort will result in increased availability of medical cannabis in Texas or decriminalization of all pot for low-volume possession – or if it helps establish a legal, potentially billion-dollar-plus cultivation and processing industry in the state.

Broad legalization for medical purposes, let alone adult recreational use, must overcome opposition from some conservative Texas legislators, as well as from Gov. Greg Abbott.


Low-Level Marijuana Possession Penalties Could Be Reduced With New Bill

State lawmakers will hear public testimony Monday on House Bill 81, which would reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession.

“House Bill 81 would eliminate the arrest, the jail time, and most importantly, the criminal record currently associated with small amounts of marijuana,” explained Heather Fazio, the Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The bill will recalibrate penalties for low-level possession, making it a simple ticket, rather than jail time and a criminal record.”


A bill to decriminalize marijuana is getting a hearing in the Texas house

Texas Pot smokers may be one step closer to celebrating in the streets.

A bill seeking to decriminalize the use and possession of small quantities of marijuana has been scheduled for a hearing at the Texas State Capitol. 

House Bill 81, which aims to categorize low-level marijuana possession as a misdemeanor, will be will be argued in front of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 13th.


Texan Pot Smokers Rejoice: Small Amounts of Marijuana Now Can Lead to Class, Not Jail

It's a new day for small-time pot smokers in Harris County.

A new policy that went into effect at midnight Tuesday will allow people caught with up to four ounces of marijuana  to avoid arrest or jail time by taking a four-hour drug-education class.

The policy, announced recently by District Attorney Kim Ogg, is expected to save the area more than $25 million in costs for the jail, courts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, lab testing and officers' time.


Company May Soon Legally Dispense Cannabis Oil In Texas Town

The first step toward legally growing marijuana in the state of Texas could come Thursday.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is scheduled to begin accepting applications for licenses to dispense low-THC cannabis under the state’s Compassionate Use Act.

The town of Gunter, Texas, fifty miles north of Dallas, may be among the first locations approved. A company called Aquiflow, has purchased the town’s old cotton gin with plans to start production.

“If it’s legal, I’m all for it,” said Mayor Pro Tem Larry Peters.


Texas veterans press Legislature for medical use of marijuana

Military veterans said that for many, marijuana offers a safer treatment option than prescription painkillers.

A stack of letters urged Gov. Greg Abbott to rethink his opposition to medical marijuana.

Texas military veterans gathered Wednesday at the Capitol to press lawmakers and Gov. Greg Abbott to allow for the medical use of marijuana, saying the drug offers life-saving treatment for those afflicted with chronic pain, brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I wake up each day in pain,” said retired Army Sgt. Javier Tovias of Edinburg, who stopped taking prescription pain medication because of adverse health effects.


Video: Texas parents treat daughter's severe autism with marijuana vapor, results are stunning

The incredible story of how two Texas parents illegally use marijuana to treat their 17-year-old daughter's severe autism is reaching millions online, and prompting more discussion about legalization of medical uses for the drug in Texas.

Seventeen-year-old Kara Zartler of Richardson, Texas, has severe autism with self-injurious symptoms, causing her, at times, to hit herself repeatedly and uncontrollably.

But about three years ago, Kara’s parents started treating her symptoms with vaporized marijuana, which quells her self-hitting symptoms in mere minutes, according to her father, Mark Zartler.


Cancer patient hoping to change minds on medical marijuana policy

A Lake Jackson woman battling a bone-eating cancer is meeting with Texas lawmakers Thursday in an effort to legalize medical marijuana for patients with a variety of debilitating conditions.

Cherie Rineker was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2012. She said her husband and daughter encourage her to keep fighting.

"I want to be around for her not just on the couch, but as productive and as good as I can," Rineker said.

Part of her fight is advocating for people like herself to be able to use marijuana legally in Texas to help ease their pain.


UT/TT Poll: Support for Marijuana Growing Like a Weed in Texas

Opposition to legal marijuana is dropping in Texas, with fewer than one in five respondents to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll saying they are against legalization in any form.

Support for marijuana only for medical use has dropped over the last two years, but support for legalization for private use — both in small amounts or in amounts of any size — has grown since the pollsters asked in February 2015.


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