Under González’s House Bill 1937, adults 21 and older would be allowed to possess and transport up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. No more than 15 grams of that can be in the form of a cannabis concentrate. At their homes, adults would be allowed to possess or process no more than 10 ounces of cannabis. If there’s more than 2.5 ounces in a person’s home, the excess must be securely stored.
Individual cities and counties would be allowed to legalize recreational adult-use cannabis, but it would be up to the state to regulate the stuff under HB 1937. Specifically, the bill directs the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to adopt all the necessary rules for the bill, concluding licensing, regulation, testing standards and transportation.
In a press release about the bill, González pointed out that 21 states have legalized cannabis, and 27 have decriminalized cannabis use. Recent studies have also shown a majority of Texans support some form of cannabis legalization, González said.
“While Texas has made progress with the Compassionate Use Act, we have been left behind on a potential revenue source that would increase investments in public education, stop unnecessary arrests for cannabis possession, and create jobs in our state,” Gonzålez said in the press release. “We should allow our local communities to make the best decision for themselves regarding cannabis legalization, and House Bill 1937 would allow that for adults 21 years or older.”
The bill would also impose a 10% tax on cannabis products. The taxes collected would go toward cannabis regulation, testing and quality control and local oversight, with the remainder reserved for the Foundation School Fund, the primary source of state funding for school districts.
It’s not likely this bill will make it to the governor’s desk, Jesse Williams, a local cannabis advocate, told the Observer. Williams, the managing editor and deputy director of the online publication Texas Cannabis Collective, said even if it does, Gov. Greg Abbott is unlikely to sign it.
“I would absolutely vote to legalize recreational cannabis use in the city of Dallas if given the opportunity to by the state." – Adam Bazaldua, Dallas City Counciltweet this
Aside from its chances of passing, Williams sees some problems with the bill. “I imagine some of the biggest opposition to this in the cannabis community will be the 10% tax added on top of other taxes that are already required to be collected by businesses,” Williams said. “We already know from other states that if it becomes too costly to enter the market and too costly for the customer vs. the black market, a portion of customers will go to the black market.”
In a world where this bill does become law in Texas, Dallas might have a chance at legalization. If given the chance by the state, Dallas City Council members Chad West and Adam Bazaldua said they would vote to legalize adult recreational use of cannabis in Big D. “I would absolutely vote to legalize recreational cannabis use in the city of Dallas if given the opportunity to by the state,” Bazaldua told the Observer.
West said just about the same, adding that adult recreational use of cannabis would need to come with strong regulation.
Texas passed its heavily restrictive medical cannabis program through the Compassionate Use Act in 2015. About two years later, West and a group of investors applied to get one of the first licenses to cultivate and sell cannabis products in the state program. They did not get the license, but West said he still sees medicinal and recreational value in cannabis.
“I’ve personally been in the medical marijuana business myself in the private sector and I believe in it for both medicinal use and recreational use,” West said. “The city and the state both spend a lot of resources prosecuting marijuana offenses. If we found a way to regulate it and to capitalize on it, it could be a big moneymaker for the state and also a way to safely regulate something that is not regulated right now. … I believe the benefits of legalizing it far outweigh the problems associated with it.”
If passed and signed into law, HB 1937 would take effect Sept. 1.