Texas push to decriminalize pot falters despite GOP support

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ tough stance on marijuana as pot in the U.S. becomes increasingly legal has grounded a bipartisan push in the state to decriminalize minor offenses.

It all but ensures that Texas will remain in the company of more than a dozen states where possessing any amount of pot can result in a criminal record. A Democrat leading the decriminalization effort said political realities in the Texas Capitol forced him to weaken his bill ahead of a key House vote.

The chamber passed the measure on a 98-43 vote on Monday.

The revised measure would reduce penalties for those with an ounce or less of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor, eliminating arrests but still making possession a crime.

Failure of the bill’s original language underscores how politically resistant Texas’ GOP leaders are to relaxing marijuana laws.

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