Texas effort to decriminalize marijuana stalls

Texas effort to decriminalize marijuana stalls
© Getty

A bipartisan effort to decriminalize marijuana in Texas has stalled after Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) indicated that he would not support the bill in question, forcing lawmakers to weaken its language.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Texas lawmakers passed a bill through the House the day before with support from both Democrats and Republicans that would reduce the penalty for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana, making it a Class C misdemeanor, meaning that those caught with the drug will still be charged but will not be arrested.

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Lawmakers had originally intended to decriminalize possession of under one ounce entirely, but watered the measure down after Abbott indicated that he would veto it.

Abbott's office has not indicated whether he will sign the bill in its current form, according to the AP, but the governor has in the past shown openness to reducing the penalty for such charges.

“This was hugely popular among delegates and hugely popular among the party,” a GOP lawmaker who helped draft the bill reportedly said. “We have a disconnect with the lieutenant governor and the governor on this issue. It’s frustrating for us and I don’t know why that is.”

State Rep. Joe Moody (D), who sponsored the original bill to decriminalize possession of marijuana, told the news service that he is "prepared to work in the lanes the governor has laid out to get this done."