Why marijuana advocates are optimistic lawmakers will ease penalties for possession, expand medical accessPosted by On

AUSTIN (CBSNewsTexas.com) – Texans this year could get increased access to medical marijuana and see lower penalties for possession of the drug. 

State lawmakers have filed 26 bills so far related to cannabis, and advocates are expressing confidence they’ll see some priorities passed.  

“I’m excited about this session,” said Liz Miller, who testified Tuesday before the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence on HB 218, the first cannabis bill to get a hearing.

The Bedford resident has for years openly discussed using marijuana to treat debilitating pain caused by a rare connective tissue condition. What works best, she says, is the concentrate form of marijuana, and possessing that in any amount is a felony.

“I’ve said it under oath – in front of lawmakers, in front of law enforcement,” she said. “If I wasn’t committing a felony on a regular basis, I wouldn’t be able to be sitting here talking to you today.”

She gets away with it, she says, in part because of who she is, and she feels compelled to speak out for those jailed for doing exactly the same thing she does.

“A little old white lady can walk around all day talking about committing a felony and no one bothers me,” she said. “So if they don’t arrest me, I will continue to point out that hypocrisy to them.”

Representative Joe Moody of El Paso authored HB 218, which would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

That’s regardless…

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