Marijuana Bill to be Introduced in Texas by State Senator-elect
Newly elected Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez (D) announced his plans to file a bill on Monday that would, if passed, legalize marijuana in Texas. Gutierrez defeated incumbent Peter Flores (R) for a Texas Senate seat representing the 19th District of Texas. Senator-elect Gutierrez campaigned as a proponent of legalizing marijuana throughout the campaign and believes that his bill “would create 30,000 new jobs for our state and produce $3.2 billion in new revenue WITHOUT raising taxes on everyday Texans.”
The newly-elected State Senator posted a Tweet announcing his plans.
Texas will be facing tremendous budgetary challenges next session. My bill would create 30,000 new jobs for our state and produce $3.2 billion in new revenue WITHOUT raising taxes on everyday Texans!
— Roland Gutierrez (@RolandForTexas) November 9, 2020
A release of the Texas Legislature Bill Report on Monday shows that the bill is being filed and will be voted on in the upcoming legislative session in January. The proposed bill, SB 140, reads: “Relating to the regulation of the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, testing, possession, and use of cannabis and cannabis products; authorizing the imposition of taxes and fees; requiring an occupational license; creating a criminal offense; to border security enhancement projects and the creation of a fund to pay for those projects; to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis and the licensing of medical cannabis dispensing organizations.”
Sen. Gutierrez could be the author of the first bill to fully legalize marijuana in Texas. While many Texans advocate for legalization, marijuana is currently very restricted in the state. It is illegal to use or possess marijuana in the Lone Star State. In 2015, Governor Abbot signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which allows people with epilepsy to access medical marijuana oil containing no more than 0.5% THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that causes a user to get high. In the 2019 Texas legislative session, hemp products such as CBD oil were decriminalized. These hemp products currently are allowed to have no more than 0.5% THC.
While the possibility of legalization is exciting news for many Texans, prominent Republican leaders such as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick(R) have yet to fully embrace the legalization of marijuana in Texas. The proposed bill will undoubtedly face opposition, as many Republicans are slow to embrace legalization.
Will the upcoming 87th Texas Legislative Session be the one to legalize marijuana in Texas?