Members of the Texas law enforcement community will speak out on Thursday in favor of a bill that would reduce the penalty for simple marijuana possession.
At 10 a.m. CT, active duty and former police officers, a retired District Court judge, and others will join Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) at a news conference in Room E1.026 of the Texas State Capitol to express support for HB 81.HB 81, introduced by Rep. Moody and co-authored by Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), would remove the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine of up to $250. Under current Texas law, individuals found in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested and given a criminal record, and they face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
“Every year we arrest about 60,000 people in Texas for possession of tiny amounts of marijuana,” said retired District Court Judge John Delaney, who will be participating in the news conference. “Each arrest takes about two hours of police time, not to mention the added burden on jails and courts. This diverts resources that could be spent helping victims of violence and serious property crimes. Issuing citations makes more sense. What’s more, a marijuana conviction affects a person’s ability to work and support a family for the rest of their life. No one wins; all of us lose.”
WHAT: News conference at which current and former members of law enforcement will express support for a bill to reduce marijuana penalties in Texas
WHEN: Thursday, February 16, 10 a.m. CT
WHERE: Texas State Capitol, Room E1.026, 1100 Congress Ave., Austin
WHO: Rep. Joe Moody, chair of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Nick Novello, active duty officer, Dallas Police Department
John Delaney, retired Texas District Court judge
Jay Hall, retired Houston Police Department lieutenant
Russell Jones, former narcotics detective
Tim McLemee, retired Texas peace officer
Silvestre Tanenbaum, former Carrollton police officer
Heather Fazio, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy