States to Watch in 2021: Texas

In advance of the 2021 legislative sessions, NORML will be providing a more detailed break down of legislative efforts in various states across the nation that are poised to enact significant marijuana reforms next year. This is the last in a series of blogs examining where state-specific reform efforts stand.

Almost two dozen marijuana-related bills have already been prefiled ahead of the 2021 legislative session, including legislation that would expand Texas’ limited low-THC medical cannabis law, decriminalize marijuana possession, and legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana.

Representative Joe Moody has prefiled legislation that would create a retail market for Texans 21 years of age and up. The bill creates an infrastructure with a moderate tax rate with a portion going to the public school teachers fund, a provision for home cultivation, any previous charges for possession will not disqualify Texans from applying to licenses and it specifically disallows driving while under influence of cannabis.

Meanwhile, Senator Jose Menendez has again prefiled legislation to expand access to the Texas Compassionate Use Program (T.CUP). In addition to expanding the list of conditions and symptoms, it would remove the cap on THC, create independent third party testing, allow for reciprocity for out of state patients and allow for home cultivation for registered patients.

A recent economic analysis found that Texas could generate over $1 billion annually in legal marijuana tax revenue, and the industry could create between 20,000-40,000 new jobs. A separate white paper released this month evaluates the efficacy of the current Texas Compassionate Use Program and offers policy recommendations for expanding the program to best serve its patients.

The last time the Texas legislature met was in 2019. A decriminalization bill was approved by the state House, but was then defeated in the Senate. Legislation was enacted in 2019 to significantly expand Texas’ nascent medical cannabis law.

Prosecutions for marijuana possession cases have been on the decline in Texas after the passage of the state’s hemp legalization law in 2019.

Texas’ legislative session begins on January 12, 2021.

According to statewide polling data, 62 percent of Texas residents are in favor of legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana. 

Important Upcoming Texas Events and Dates