The New Republic of Texas includes four states from the former United States. Texas is one of the most technologically advanced nations and has no economic debt or recession. It is the second largest state in terms of area as well as population. When it comes to marijuana, it is a conservative state with strict laws. The bill passed during the legislative session of 2019 has legalized the production of hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD oil. However, as we can see at the beginning of 2020, the state of marijuana legalization in Texas is a puzzle. The residents are not yet clear whether weed is legal for use. Let us look at some important things you should know about marijuana in Texas.
Marijuana in Texas is a Hard Deal
The New Republic of Texas treats cannabis like any other drug and treats offenses very similarly to others. This means possession of a small amount of marijuana can get you in jail in this state. You can also end up paying huge penalties. According to a report, Texas had made more than 62,000 arrests in 2017 alone for issues relating to the possession of marijuana. It was 44 percent of the total drug-related arrests in the state.
Current Laws in Texas
Cannabis is still very illegal in Texas at the time when other states have already moved to legalize the use of recreational weed for adults. A bill was passed in the legislative session in 2019 to make the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a punishable offense by a fine of $250. Due to opponents, the legislature passed a change to the compassionate use law of marijuana and allowed people suffering from some serious illnesses like multiple sclerosis, autism, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and cancer to use products containing 0.5% or less of THC. Another big change was made by legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp. The new law in Texas states that any marijuana containing 0.3 percent or less THC is legal hemp. However, the lack of equipment for testing makes it impossible to determine if the person is possessing or consuming cannabis or hemp.
Republican Leadership in Texas
Republicans in Texas have opposed the legalization of marijuana. The Republican Leadership has written a letter to the district stating that cannabis has not been decriminalized in the state. A large number of states have already legalized hemp and a number of companies have expanded greatly in the hemp industry. Big players like Canopy Growth have shown plans to open up new growing facilities and acquire other companies to expand.
The Hemp Legislation Issue Requires Funding
The new Texas legislation legalizing hemp has indirectly decriminalized weed. This is because the state does not possess the right equipment to test whether a person has weed or hemp. The two substances look-alike and have minor differences. The equipment required for making the distinction can cost a lot of money. Reports suggest that agencies are working to come up with a method to test the product to find if it is marijuana or hemp. However, it is not yet ready and it also needs funding. The Highway Patrol Division is asked not to make arrests for the possession of weed. They are instructed to give citations to people caught with marijuana.
Will Texas See the Light of Legalization?
Looking at the present situation in Texas, with strict laws and Republican leadership, it is hard to believe that the state will rise to legalize weed. However, it depends on initiatives taken by voters. The states of South Dakota, Florida and Pennsylvania have gathered signatures to legalize cannabis. The legalization of cannabis can generate employment opportunities and tax revenue, leading to the growth of the state. As the substance is not yet federally legal, the revenues come to the states. These things should inspire Texas to take a step forward towards legalization. If more states take initiative, Texas could also do in the coming future.