Legislation that seeks to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties is once again pending before state lawmakers. State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) has prefiled legislation, House Bill 184, to amend minor marijuana possession penalties to a fine-only, Class C misdemeanor.
Under present law, the possession of one ounce of cannabis or less is classified as a Class B criminal misdemeanor publishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Passage of HB 184 would reduce these penalties to a maximum fine of $500 and no jail time.
Annually, in Texas some 80,000 citizens are arrested for marijuana violations; an estimated 97% of those arrested and charged for possession alone — not trafficking, cultivation, or sale. House Bill 184 would significantly reduce state prosecutorial costs associated with these tens of thousands of minor marijuana arrests and allow law enforcement resources to be refocused on other, more serious criminal offenses.
Please take time today to contact your state House member and urge him or her to support House Bill 184. For your convenience, a prewritten letter will be sent to your representative when you visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here: