Texas Republicans have come out in support of marijuana decriminalization in their official party platform. State GOP delegates also approved an expansion of medical marijuana access and support for industrial hemp at their convention.
Nearly 10,000 delegates attended the state Republican Party convention last week. Before Saturday’s vote on the platform, delegates had the opportunity to learn about cannabis policy and regulation. In a first for the convention, three pro-pot groups and one anti-pot group had booths in the exposition area.
The platform approved by delegates contained more than 330 planks covering policy issues ranging from gay rights to immigration. Of those, four are related to the regulation of cannabis.
One plank calls for a change in state law to remove criminal penalties for cannabis possession. Instead, civil penalties would apply to adults caught with an ounce or less.
“We support a change in the law to make it a civil, and not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time,” the platform reads.
Currently, adults possessing up to two ounces of pot can receive a six-month jail term and a fine of $2,000.
Another platform item seeks a federal rescheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. “Congress should remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 and move to Schedule 2,” according to the document.
Republicans also support an expansion of the state medical marijuana program with a call for “the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to certified patients.”
Additionally, GOP delegates voted to “recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity.” They also urged “the Texas Legislature to pass legislation allowing cultivation, manufacture,