Members of the law enforcement community will speak out Thursday in favor of a bill that would reduce the penalty for simple marijuana possession in Texas. At 10 a.m. CT, active duty and former Texas police officers, a retired Texas District Court judge, and others will join Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) at a news conference in Room E1.026 of the Texas State Capitol to express support for HB 81.
HB 81, introduced by Rep. Moody and co-authored by Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), would remove the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine of up to $250. Under current Texas law, individuals found in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested and given a criminal record, and they face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
“Every year we arrest about 60,000 people in Texas for possession of tiny amounts of marijuana,” said retired Texas District Court Judge John Delaney, who will be participating in the news conference. “Each arrest takes about two hours of police time, not to mention the added burden on jails and courts. This diverts resources that could be spent helping victims of violence and serious property crimes. Issuing citations makes more sense. What’s more, a marijuana conviction affects a person’s ability to work and support a family for the rest of their life. No one wins; all of us lose.”
News Conference Details
Date and Time: Thursday, February 16, 10 a.m. CT
Location: Texas State Capitol, Room E1.026, 1100 Congress Ave., Austin
- Rep. Joe Moody, chair of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
- Nick Novello, active duty officer, Dallas Police Department
- John Delaney, retired Texas District Court judge
- Jay Hall, retired Houston Police Department lieutenant
- Russell Jones, former narcotics detective
- Tim McLemee, retired Texas peace officer
- Silvestre Tanenbaum, former Carrollton police officer
- Heather Fazio, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy