Ten states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults, and State Rep Rolando Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) says Texas can be number eleven in the 2021 session,News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Gutierrez is releasing his 'REAL Cannabis Legalation Act' ahead of the 2021 session of the Legislature, saying that edxpressions of support for lawmakers for supporters of legalizion will be what is need to puch the bill oer the top in the session that opens in January 0f 2021.
"Manufacture, distribute, and retail it appropriately so we can tax appropriately," Gutierrez said is the goal of his measure.
Gutierrez' bill would require that a person be 21 years old in order to purchase marijuana from licensed retail outlets.
The would establish a 'three tier system' of manufacturer, retail, and consumer, similar to what is successfully used in liquor.
Only cannabis products grown in Texas could be sold in Texas, leading for a new market for cannabis farmers. It would also allow individuals to grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their own home for their personal consumption.
"Every state that has done this has seen a reduction in opioid deaths," Gutierrez said. "A reduction in teenage usage. We allow cities to regulate the delivery method, things like guaranteeing that people can't smoke outside, but they can smoke in their own home all they want."
The measure contains $200 million for xsecurity resources for counties within 50 miles or the border, and $250 million for big city and county police to combat drug related cartel activity.
In addition to border securiry, the tax money collected from marijuana sales would go local law enforcement and to the foundation school fund.
He says Texas is looking at a major education funding shortfall in 2021 due to several measures approved by the 2019 Legislature, and this measure would be the perfect way to deal with at shortfall.
The proposal provides the owners of private property with the right to 'prohibit or restrict the possesssion, consumption, cultivation, distribution, processing, sale, or display of cannabis or cannabis products.' Btu it requires that landlord allow tenants to consumer marijuana in accordance with the law.
It extends the crime of DWI to 'operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.'
Gutierrez says if supporters speak up now, and contact their state representative, especially Legislative leaders who have expressed opposition to liberalized marijuana laws, like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, his bill has a fighting chance.
He points out that other states are moving quickly to legalize canabis, and Texas is increasingly finding itself on the outside, using tax resources to fight marijauna crimes instead of coming up with smart policies, which bring the state's laws into the 2020s