Texas is considering some big changes to its cannabis laws, but full legalization is still a few years away for the Lone Star State.
Cannabis decriminalization and improvements to medical marijuana legislation may be on the table for this government session in Texas, but Texans shouldn't hold their breath for legalizing recreational cannabis, according to Jax Finkle, Executive Director of Texas NORML.
"I don't think that's going to be a conversation this session," Finkle told the Dallas Observer. "Texans like to consider themselves their own nation state. We like to do things our own way, and that means that [recreational legalization] will probably be later."
Finkle believes it will be at least another six years before recreational cannabis will have a serious chance of getting passed in Texas. But there are a few other changes that Texans can look forward to. They range from potentially decriminalizing cannabis to, at the very least, reducing penalties for simple possession.
Governor Greg Abbott (R) has signalled interest in making cannabis possession a ticketable offense, instead of sending people to jail for getting caught with a dimebag.
"One thing I don't want to see is jails stockpiled with people who have possession of small amounts of marijuana," Abbott said during a debate with fellow gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez (D) in October.
Additionally, a bill has been filed by Representative Terry Canales (D) that would change the way amounts of cannabis are calculated when a person is caught with edibles or oils. Currently, a person arrested for possession of marijuana edibles is charged for possessing an amount of cannabis equal to the weight of the edible products.
Canales' bill would make it so that a person is charged based on the amount of THC contained in the edibles instead.
"If you have one brownie, you probably have 10 milligrams of THC in there," explains Finkle. "However, you're being charged with 8 ounces or something, however much the brownie weighs. There's a huge disparity there, and the bill would make it more fair."
And finally there's the case of expanding Texas' medical marijuana program. This is something that the Republican Party supposedly supports, but Finkle thinks people shouldn't expect anything more than a few minor tweaks to the current legislation in the coming year.