If you watched any of the cable news networks over the weekend, you likely saw a television ad pushing passage of Texas House Bill 81 to decriminalize marijuana statewide.
“Criminalizing people for marijuana possession does far more harm to the community than marijuana itself,” Dallas Police Officer Nick Novello says in the 30 second spot.
“I was found with two-tenths of a gram of marijuana and I spent a total of four days in jail,” Houstonian Heather Jackson explains.
A vote in the Texas House is expected this week.
“Its about saving criminal justice resources and making sure the penalty for marijuana matches the crime,” says Heather Fazio with Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
If passed, Texans caught with up to one ounce of weed would face a $250 fine.
“What we want to see with HB 81 is a statewide policy that eliminates the arrest, jail time and criminal record associated with small amounts of marijuana,” says Fazio.
It would expand similar policies already in place in the Houston area, Austin and Dallas.
“We're seeing local district attorneys and local city councils taking action within their legal discretion to minimize the harm being done in their communities by these state laws that are on the books.”
Just last week, Texas lawmakers voted to expand the use of medical marijuana in the state.