The Texas Senate has killed HB 63 that would reduce criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana possession, according to a tweet for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Criminal Justice Chair @Whitmire_John is right that #HB 63 is dead in the @Texas Senate. I join with those House Republicans who oppose this step toward legalization of marijuana.— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) April 30, 2019
The bill would remove jail time for people found to have less than one ounce of marijuana in their possession and offer a pathway to remove the charges from their records.
It would make possession of less than one ounce a Class C misdemeanor, which is punished by a fine of no more than $500.
Under current Texas law, those with small amounts of marijuana are subject to a Class B misdemeanor, which could mean a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days of jail time.
House Bill 63 is an amended version of the bill authored by Representative Joe Moody (D- El Paso). The bill easily passed the Texas House on Monday 98-43.
The Texas Police Chiefs Association said that they opposed the moving down of possession to a Class C Misdemeanor where only a citation could be issued.
“This mandate would remove officer discretion and their ability to be procedurally just in evaluating each circumstance on its own unique merits and effecting an arrest when other criminal activity is afoot or incarceration is the most appropriate recourse to protect the public and ensure defendant accountability,” Grand Prairie Police Chief and TPCA Chief said to our sister station KXAN.