House Bill 184’s Hearing is Today

Posted on: March 12, 2013

Legislation that seeks to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties is once again pending before state lawmakers. State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) has introduced legislation, House Bill 184, to amend minor marijuana possession penalties to a fine-only, Class C misdemeanor. The measure has been referred to the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The committee will hear the measure on Tuesday, March 12 on level E2 (basement level), Room 016 of the Texas Capitol.

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.

Today, DFW NORML’s Deputy Director Will Jenkins and National Promotions Coordinator Pete Marrero are making their way to Austin to testify at the hearing on behalf of HB 184. These men are spending their Tuesday lobbying for all of our rights as responsible cannabis consumers, but we need your help!

Please take time today to contact your state House member and urge him or her to support HB 184. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your elected official when you visit NORML’s New ‘Take Action Center’ here: