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State Rep. Moody introduces bill to decriminalize possession of small amount of marijuana

State Rep. Joe Moody is introducing a bill to reduce the penalties for marijuana possession.

The new bill, House Bill 507, would make the possession of up to 1 oz. punishable with a $100 civil fine.

Currently, marijuana possession in Texas – even a minor amount – can end in jail time and a fine of up to $2,000.

Moody made the announcement Monday morning while joined by marijuana advocates and other organizations.

Moody says the current law just is not working but he wants to be clear that this is not a plan to legalize the drug.

“It’s actually very rare in Texas,” Moody said. “We tend to criminalize everything. What we’ve done here is created a civil sanction so it would still be technically illegal under the law but wouldn’t be punishable under a criminal sanction or something reported on a criminal history report.”

ABC-7 spoke with an advocate for medical marijuana use and decriminalization, Colt DeMorris. DeMorris is the executive director of the El Paso chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“We have to pay for the court system. We have to pay for the officers that are arresting this person. We have to pay for any jail time that this person spends in jail,” DeMorris said about the financial impact the law, if passed, will have. “We’ll save millions across the board.”

The U.S. House of Representatives will take up the bill during the 84th legislative session, which begins in January.

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