Marijuana reform appears to be quickly happening in the Lone Star State.
Monday evening, lawmakers granted initial approval to House Bill 63, that would decriminalize possession of marijuana up to an ounce.
While some believe that would be a big step in the wrong direction, the Wichita County Sheriff is prepared to go with the majority at the Texas State Capitol.
“Great idea. I’m pro marijuana,” said Brittney Theademan.
Theademan is a Wichita Falls resident who is absolutely in favor of HB 63 that would turn possession of an ounce or less of marijuana into a class C misdemeanor.
“I am for recreational use also. If you can buy alcohol, you should definitely be able to buy marijuana in my opinion.”
Patsy Moore, of Wichita Falls, believes relaxing laws on marijuana would definitely be the wrong way to go, though.
“People have kids,” Moore said. “I have two. People come through here all the time asking little kids to buy it, and I don’t think it’s right. So, they should put a stop to it.”
“I don’t have a real big opinion,” said Wichita County Sheriff David Duke. “I’d rather them not (change marijuana posession up to an ounce from a criminal to a civil matter) because it would be more prevalent with people to have a certain amount. Just because you’re stopped and you only have this much now, thirty minutes later he might have two pounds and selling half of it and smoking the rest of it.”
Sheriff Duke says his office will simply enforce what’s passed by lawmakers.
If the bill is eventually signed by the governor, Duke’s advice for pot smokers will remain the same.
“If you’re going to drink beer or liquor, do it at your house or somewhere you don’t have to drive. If you’re going to smoke a lot of weed, then do it at your house where you don’t have to drive, or don’t get caught because if you get caught, you’re going to lose your car. You’re going to get arrested. You’re going to get all kinds of legal problems, and you could potentially lose your job and never get a descent job you really want because of all those convictions.”
A person caught with an ounce or less of marijuana would face up to a $500 civil fine, but would not be arrested.
The bill would also make it easier to get the matter expunged.
“It’s a lot safer than alcohol in my opinion,” said Theademan.
It appears more and more Texas lawmakers could be coming over to Theademan’s way of thinking when it comes to grass.
HB 63 gained initial approval in the Texas House Monday evening by a 98 to 43 vote.
It is expected to go to a final House vote later this week.