[2019 Session] Reduce the Penalty for Low-Level Marijuana Possession to a Class C Misdemeanor or Civil Penalty

Policy Background

Currently in Texas, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. In 2017, nearly 65,000 people in Texas were arrested for marijuana possession, accounting for the great majority of all drug arrests.1 Each of these people must be arrested and booked into jail by law enforcement – diverting police attention from serious offenses and wasting resources on the punishment of otherwise law-abiding, productive people. Polls show that a majority of Texas’ registered voters endorse legalizing marijuana.2

Proposed Solution

Reduce the penalty for low-level marijuana possession from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class C, fine-only misdemeanor, or make low-level marijuana possession a civil violation, eliminating criminal penalties altogether for small amounts while still holding people accountable through a fine.

Relevant Bills

Other Bills and Resolutions Related to Marijuana and Cannabis