El Paso Texas State Representative Pushing For Decriminalization Of Marijuana
It seems to be the trend these days. We're moving towards the decriminalization of marijuana. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Eight states, along with DC, have decriminalized recreational marijuana.
As the rest of the country starts to realize that legalizing marijuana is actually a good thing, here in Texas, it may seem we're moving slow, but at least we're moving that way. Joe Moody, a Texas state Representative from El Paso, is one of the people pushing us in that direction. Moody's House Bill 81, would significantly lower punishment for anyone caught with a personal use amount of marijuana. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would become a civil offense and would result in only a fine of $250. You wouldn't get arrested and it wouldn't get you a record.
While Moody took the lectern, he was surrounded by police officers and a retired judge. Nick Novello, a veteran Dallas officer, supports Moody's bill.
“I went to Austin [to support Rep. Moody] because after 35 years on the street I’m just tired of seeing kids’ lives defined by marijuana arrests,” Novello says. “Our culture will not endure much more of what we’re doing to it. If Hillary [Clinton] was right when she said it takes a village to raise a child, the my question is ‘What happens when that village criminalizes and incarcerates its children?’ That’s what the current marijuana policies are doing.”
Two years ago, Moody's bill passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, but it didn't get a floor vote. He and Novello are hoping it gets further this time around. And I am right there with them.