Rep. Jessica Gonzalez

State Rep. Jessica Gonzalez filed legislation that would allow counties and municipalities in Texas to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by order or ordinance.

House Bill 3248 would allow counties and municipalities to adopt an order or ordinance that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis within their jurisdiction. The bill directs the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to adopt all necessary rules for the administration and enforcement of this bill.

If approved and signed into law, there would be a 10 percent tax on all cannabis sales. Of the revenue collected, 10 percent would go toward cannabis regulation, 10 percent to cannabis testing and quality control, 20 percent to participating local governments for the purpose of oversight. The remainder would go to the Foundation School Fund, which is the primary source of state funding for Texas school districts.

So far, 26 states have decriminalized the use of cannabis and 16 states have legalized it. A recent study showed 54 percent of Texans support legalization for recreational use.

“While Texas has made progress with the Compassionate Use Act, we have been left behind on a potential revenue source that would increase investments in public education, stop the unnecessary arrests for cannabis possession, and create jobs in our state,” Gonzalez said. “We should allow our local communities to make the best decision for themselves in regards to cannabis legalization, and HB 3248 would allow that for adults 21 years or older.”

Gonzalez filed a companion bill that would prohibit judges from issuing a warrant for violation of terms of community supervision solely because they tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabidiol in a drug test.”

Gonzalez is a founding member of the Texas House LGBT Caucus.

— David Taffet