Marijuana Backers Encouraged About Chances for Decriminalization in Texas

State Lawmakers from both parties are optimistic that efforts to liberalize the state's marijuana laws are gaining traction in the new session, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"We have had 27 marijuana related bills introduced in Texas," said Heather Fazio of the Marijuana Policy Project, which sponsored 'Marijuana Lobbying Day' at the Capitol on Thursday. "That is a record number."

Fazio says she is enthusiastic about Gov. Abbott's support of a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

"That would mean eliminating the threat of arrest, jail time, and, more importantly, the criminal record," she said.

It is the first indication that Abbott would support more liberal laws covering marijuana. Two eyars ago, after signing a bill allowing THC free cannabis oil to be used to treat certain types of seizure disorder, Abbott said that was the only bill relating to lessening marijuana policy that he would support.

Fazio says dozens of lawmakers support taking steps on marijuana.

"In the first week of filing, marijuana was the number one issue that bills were introduced about," Fazio said. "We have seen a lot of bipartisan sujpport."

The bills run the gamut from expanding the use of marijuana for medical purposes, to outright Colorado-style legalization of marijuana.

Texas has increasingly become an outlier among states when it comes to marijuana, with ten states, plus the nation of Canada, legalizing full recreational use of marijuana. Texas is one of fifteen states where marijuana is still fully illegal.

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