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Texas bill proposed to reform pot laws

While several states have legalized recreational marijuana use, Texas still has some of the nation's harshest marijuana laws on its books.

However, the Texas political director with the Marijuana Policy Project says that more state lawmakers and police officers are beginning to question the laws, and that 2017 could be a huge year for marijuana reform in the state legislature.

In fact, a bill has already been introduced by state Rep. Jason Moody of El Paso that would make possession of one ounce of less of marijuana a civil offense that comes with a fine of $250, instead of a criminal charge that can have lasting effects on a person's life.

Even conservative lawmakers are open to discussing reducing penalties for low-level drug crimes because of the expenses associated with prosecuting and locking up non-violent offenders for getting caught with a small amount of weed, the reform activist said.

Texas law enforcement officials, too, are coming around to the idea that prosecuting low-level marijuana crimes isn't worth the time or resources. In fact, according to the San Antonio Current, about 38 percent of misdemeanor marijuana cases in Bexar County end up being dismissed and about half in Travis County are not prosecuted.

Of course, not everyone supports the movement to de-criminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Marijuana Policy Project political director said that she was recently at a forum where a county sheriff said that marijuana edibles can result in overdose deaths, which she likened to "refer madness."

What to do if you are charged with marijuana possession

While even some of the most conservative Texans are beginning to warm up to the idea of more lenient marijuana possession laws, and certain counties are deciding not to prosecute cases involving small amounts of the drug, it is still very important to take charges seriously by working with an experienced attorney.

Your attorney can help work out a favorable plea agreement, or maybe even the dismissal of the charges. Criminal records can ruin lives, and may employers have a blanket rule against hiring individuals who have been convicted of crimes, no matter what the crimes may have involved.

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