AUSTIN (KXAN) – On Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that would reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

In addition to marijuana, House Bill 218 also relates to the possession of certain tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), certain synthetic cannabinoids and drug paraphernalia.

The bill would reclassify the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis concentrate as a Class C misdemeanor, which is a citable offense, but it is not subject to an arrest. There could, however, be a fine of up to $500.

Currently, such possession would be considered a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $2,000. Possession of four ounces or more is considered a felony with a penalty of up to two years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.

State Rep. Joe Moody, an author of the bill, said House Bill 218 changes the way laws are enforced around the personal use and possession of cannabis.

“What it does is turn personal use possession into a non-arrestable Class C offense under House Bill 218. Possessing a small amount of cannabis is still illegal. We’re just addressing it in a smarter way than we do now,” Moody said.

HB 218 was approved after a third reading by members of the House Thursday. The bill now heads to the Texas Senate for review.

  • Two ounces or less. The punishment for this Class B misdemeanor includes up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  • Four ounces or less but more than two ounces. This offense constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.