But analysts see the bill going up in smoke
State Representative Harold Dutton's proposed bill to make marijuana possession in small amounts a misdemeanor had a hearing yesterday in Austin. Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project was on hand to tell lawmakers why the bill is a good idea. Group spokesman Mason Tvert explained to KTRH why his group is getting behind Dutton's effort.
“People in Texas are ready to move beyond the current policy of jailing adults who are simply possession small amounts. Around the country we are hearing calls for a more sensible approach to marijuana,” Tvert said.
Tvert also told KTRH that more Republican states are taking up the issue.
“There are similar bills to the Dutton bill that have been proposed in Oklahoma and Indiana. And there are other bills addressing marijuana policy in states like Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama,” Tvert explained.
Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report says Tvert may be right about what's going on across the country, but Texas isn't the rest of the country.
“It has absolutely no chance of passing. My presumption is it probably will never make it to the floor for a vote,” Kronberg stated.
Kronberg told KTRH things won't change unless a medical marijuana bill passes first.
“I would presume that would be the entry point,” Kronberg said.
And there is a bill for medical marijuana that has been filed in Austin. Representative Elliot Naishtat is once again trying to get that legislation passed.
The Marijuana Policy project says Texas leads the nation in marijuana-related arrests, costing the state roughly $700 million a year, another reason they support Dutton's bill.