High aspirations: Marijuana bills look to push Texas toward decriminalization, legalization in 2021

With the start of the 87th Texas Legislative session less than a month away, 20 marijuana bills have been filed as several lawmakers look to take the next step toward legalization in the Lone Star State.

Colorado legalized marijuana just eight years ago. Eight years later, 15 states along with Washington D.C. have now joined, legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota — the last two which are red states, notably — are the latest to jump onboard after voting to legalize marijuana in November.

While legalization for recreational use could be a long shot for Texas, at least in 2021, there are several bills that could inch the state closer to the goals of weed advocates. Here’s a look at some of the marijuana bills already filed heading into the holidays:

Decriminalization

On the second day of the filing period, Rep. Erin Zwiener filed HB 441, which would decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use, resulting in a citation rather than an arrest.

“Our current cannabis laws don’t make sense,” Zwiener said in a press release. “We’re leaving dollars on the table, wasting public safety funds on enforcement, and saddling Texans with unnecessary criminal records that harm their ability to find work and housing. It’s time to bring our cannabis laws into the 21st century, and I’m eager to get to work on reducing penalties for possession of cannabis.” [Read more at The Dallas Morning News]

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