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Texas Legislators Accidentally Decriminalized Marijuana

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With 11 states legalizing recreational marijuana and 22 allowing medical marijuana, it isn’t news when another state adds their name to the ever-growing list — unless that state is Texas. Texas has long been recognized as one of the most conservative states when it comes to progressive ideas like recreational marijuana, but a recently passed bill inadvertently did just that.

Bill H.B. 1325 was voted in by the Texas House of Representatives 140-3 and was signed into effect soon after by Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott. The purpose of the bill was to allow the use of hemp, which is simply an extension to allow for CBD.

Texas was by no means planning on making recreational marijuana legal. According to GQ, the bill clearly stated to “ensure that illegal marihuana [sic] is not transported into or through this state disguised as legal hemp.”

The issue with the bill is it inadvertently decriminalized marijuana — technically. The problem arose when there was not a way to determine what was hemp and what was marijuana. When THC, which is essentially the compound that gives you the high, is made up of less than 0.3 percent, it’s considered CBD.

In reference to the bill, this meant if it was under this predetermined threshold it could be sold in stores. Unfortunately for Texas, they pigeonholed themselves in a corner as they have no accurate way of determining THC, which has made prosecutors across the state drop various weed-related cases.

In fact, The Texas Observer reported that unless you openly admit to having marijuana in your possession, you could show a law enforcement officer the drug and they could not arrest you for it.

Now, this isn’t to say you won’t catch a fine as officers have resorted to doing that instead of hauling an individual off to jail.

The state is now scrambling on obtaining a way to determine the THC level in suspected marijuana as they have a two-year window from the time an individual is arrested until they can retry them.

This laughable blunder of a bill that is H.B. 1325 has been a colossal black eye on the state, but one person saw this coming before the bill was even passed.

Brady Mills, who is the crime lab director at Texas Department of Public Safety, recognized the possibility of accidentally legalizing marijuana and informed representatives before they voted but he was not listened to.

According to UpRoxx.com, Texas officials stated they hope to have a procedure developed by 2020 so they can still prosecute those arrested for marijuana-related offenses.