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State Representative Hopes to Legalize Cannabis In Texas In Next Legislative Session

David McNew
Getty Images

Several bills have been filed for the next Texas Legislative session that would decriminalize or legalize the use of marijuana in the state. One state representative said legalization could help to fend off a looming $4.6 billion deficit in Texas.

“Every year, over a billion in tax revenue from a mature market and hundreds of millions in savings on enforcement, thousands of jobs generated both directly and in a ripple effect of economic interdependency," said Joe Moody, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House of Representatives.

Moody has filed House Bill 447, which calls for the legalization of marijuana and would allow the retail sale in Texas.

He said legalization has several benefits.

“No more arrests, no more criminal histories, keeping people from jobs and schools and housing, no more patients struggling with medicines that don't work or hooked on opiates and other bad alternatives," he said.

All cannabis sales would be taxed at 10%, with the revenue shared between cities, counties and the Teacher Retirement System.

A 2019 survey indicated about 54% of Texans supported legalization of marijuana, and about 68% of Americans now favor legalization.

In Texas, past efforts to legalize or decriminalize marijuana have been largely blocked by Senate Republicans, but Moody said he remains hopeful.

“Adults are soon going to be able to walk into stores throughout Texas and make safe legal purchases of cannabis.”

Representative Moody spoke Friday during the Texas Marijuana Policy Conference.

Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio

Jerry Clayton