The Texas House of Representatives passed legislation decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cannabis in a vote on Wednesday. The bill still requires a second reading, which is a formality, before it goes to the Senate for further consideration, local media reported.

House Bill 3652 filed by Representative Joe Moody, a Democrat from El Paso, allows adults over the age of 21 to consume, possess and transport up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. The bill would also allow people to grow up to 12 cannabis plants on their property.

The legislation facilitates a deletion process for those with criminal records for possession of up to two ounces.

“I am pleased to see our priority legislation moving forward in the Texas Legislature. The House of Representatives’ support for reducing penalties for marijuana is encouraging. But we still have work to do in the Senate,” said Texas NORML executive director James Jax. “I encourage my fellow Texans to reach out to their senators and ask them to support this bill. Texas leads the nation in marijuana-related arrests. Passing this law will end this dubious distinction.”

Monumental

Jesse Williams, a local cannabis advocate and associate director of the Texas Cannabis Collective, said that while the bill is unlikely to be approved by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), particularly given his past remarks, approval by the House of Representatives on Wednesday is still monumental. “But a hearing in the committee on this is a monumental step for Texas, especially since it gives Texans an opportunity to show they want more changes in Texas cannabis law,” Williams said.

The legislation reduces penalties for other marijuana offenses, such as possession of an ounce or two of weed, to a Class B offense that does not require arrest. Possession of two to four ounces would be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor.

An important step, no matter how it ends

“I think the important thing is that at least…

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