While the official legislative session in Texas doesn’t begin until January 12, 2021, multiple cannabis-related bills have already been filed in the state legislature.
Some of the bills focus on cannabis legalization overall, while others are targeting medical cannabis. Many of these newly proposed bills focus on how the criminal aspects of cannabis need to be updated to keep up with the rest of the country
In the Senate, Senate Bill 269 seeks to regulate recreational cannabis growing, distribution, sales and testing into a fully legal industry. If that fails, Senate Bill 250 looks to accomplish similar goals, just with medical cannabis. It would create a full industry, but only for patients.
The Texas House is also pushing for legal cannabis. House Bill 809 would also legalize medical cannabis and establish a statewide program for patients. House Bill 447 mirrors SB-269 with an agenda of full legalization. According to Texas Tribune, Representative Joe Moody (one of the sponsors of HB-447) is one of many congress people who are viewing cannabis as a solution to the state deficit. “As we see a number of states engaging around the country in a retail market, this is no longer an experiment,” Moody said. “It is also no secret that we are heading into some rough economic waters and we need to explore every possible revenue stream.
Senate Bill 140 would authorize taxes and fees on cannabis and focus on a fund to pay for licensing security, essentially the backbone of a cannabis industry. Senate Bill 90 is on the conservative side, only allowing medical cannabis for those with specific, debilitating medical conditions and authorizing dispensaries for those patients. House Bill 94 the House equivalent, offering up a medical industry for specific patients, and House Bill 43 has similar restrictions.
Other bills include regulations for drug testing for those seeking temporary assistance, constitutional amendments to legalizing recreational or medical cannabis in the state. There are also specific bills being proposed that deal with the existing criminal penalties
Writing and proposing these bills to the state legislature is one thing, but only time will tell which bill will be thorough enough to become law in 2021 and beyond.