AUSTIN, Texas — More than a quarter of states in the U.S. have legalized recreational marijuana use, and marijuana is allowed for some medical treatment in most of the country.
Recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Texas, but the state does have a medical marijuana program that has been continuously expanded over time and as recently as last year.
In fact, marijuana is a topic Texas lawmakers talk about pretty often.
Historically, the state has taken a tough stance on marijuana possession. In 1931, the Legislature made possession of any amount of marijuana a felony offense, punishable by up to life in prison. By the 1970s, marijuana possession laws became less severe.
But even now, if you have up to two ounces in Texas, you’re committing a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Possession of more than two ounces could mean up to a year in jail, and possession of more than four ounces is a felony.
Even so, in recent years, attitudes toward marijuana at the statehouse have been shifting slightly. Here's a look at the history of marijuana legislation in Texas:
Despite strides in medical marijuana expansion, many Texas lawmakers remain staunchly opposed to recreational marijuana use and many cannabis-related bills have failed to make it to the governor's desk. Additionally, a recent report said that even for Texans who can legally obtain medical marijuana, actually accessing it remains difficult.
In March, after clinching the Democratic nomination in this year's gubernatorial race, Beto O'Rourke asked his supporters, "Don't you think it's time we legalize marijuana in the state of Texas?," adding, "We can get that done."
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