Texas: House Lawmakers Advance Medical Marijuana Expansion, Penalty Reduction Measures

Members of the Texas House of Representatives voted to advance multiple pieces of legislation related to expanding access to low-THC medical cannabis and reducing marijuana possession penalties.

The first bill (House Bill 2593) received approval from House lawmakers Wednesday. The measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to two ounces of THC concentrates from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor, which could still carry jail time.

Separately, House Bill 1535 was approved by House members on Thursday, which would significantly expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP), the state’s low-THC medical cannabis access law. The measure would allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients with cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as raise the cap on THC from 0.5 to five percent.

House lawmakers also approved a third piece of legislation Friday, House Bill 441. This measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a class B misdemeanor, punishable by large fines and potential jail time, to a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine only and no possibility of jail time. HB 441 would also reduce penalties for over one ounce of marijuana possession to a class B misdemeanor and establish a process for expunging past records.

All three measures now head to the Senate for further consideration.