The governor of Texas said on Monday that he doesn’t believe people should be incarcerated over low-level marijuana possession, effectively endorsing decriminalization on the same day that Austin officials certified a ballot initiative to enact the reform on the local level. But he also went on to incorrectly suggest that lawmakers have already adopted the policy statewide. It’s not the first time that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has expressed support for moderate cannabis reform, but it’s a notable remark from a Republican governor nonetheless. Pressed about broader cannabis legalization at a campaign press event, Abbott emphasized that Texas is “taking steps in that regard” to decrease marijuana penalties, though he misstated the current law. “Marijuana is now a Class C misdemeanor in the state of Texas and so one thing that that I believe in—and I believe the state legislature believes in—and that is prison and jail is a place for dangerous criminals who may harm others, and small possession of marijuana is not the type of violation that we want to stockpile jails with,” he said. Advocates were quick to point out that Abbott mischaracterized Texas’s marijuana policy, as possession of up to two ounces of cannabis actually remains a Class B misdemeanor—not class C—that carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a maximum of $2,000 fine.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 01/11/2022 09:03:00