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Marijuana Decriminalization Bill in Texas Runs out of Time

Time ran out in the Texas House late Thursday on a proposed law that would have reduced the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana in the state to below that of most traffic tickets.

A midnight deadline passed without the full House taking up House Bill 81 for initial consideration, meaning it and other House-originated bills remaining on its calendar are now dead as stand-alone legislation.

Both lead sponsors of HB 81 – state Reps. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, and Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs – warned earlier this week that they thought it unlikely the House would get to it by the midnight deadline because of a jam-packed House schedule. They said they planned to look for ways in the final two weeks of the legislative session to resurrect it, such as by tacking it on as an amendment to another bill.

A debate and vote by the full House over the measures in HB 81, which called for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana to be a civil, not criminal, offense, would be momentous for advocates of lifting marijuana prohibitions in the state. [Read more at Statesman]

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