Cannabis in Texas

Cannabis in Texas, the United States state, is illegal for medical and recreational purposes, though low-THC CBD oil is allowed for the treatment of epilepsy since 2015.


1915 El Paso ban

The Texan city of El Paso was the first American city to individually restrict cannabis, in 1915. The scene for this city ban was set in 1913, when a man killed a police officer in neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, while chasing an El Paso couple.[1] Chief Deputy Stanley Good of the El Paso Sheriff's Department noted over several media statements:

One under its influence is devoid of fear and as reckless of consequences or results. There are instances where the drug crazed victim has been placed in jail, but in many cases officers have been compelled to slay the fiend in order to save their own lives. ... A large percentage of the crimes committed are by men saturated with the drug... Most Mexicans in this section are addicted to the habit, and it is a growing habit among Americans.[2]

1919 medical restrictions

In 1919, the Texas legislature restricted the purchase of narcotics, including cannabis, without a prescription.[3]

1923 prohibition

In 1923, the Texas legislature illegalized possession of narcotics, to include cannabis, with the intent to sell.[3]

1931–1973 narcotic classification

In 1931, the state of Texas declared cannabis a "narcotic", allowing up to life sentences for possession; this status was to last until 1973.[4] In 1973 the law was amended to declare possession of four ounces or less a misdemeanor.[5][6]

Proposed recreational legalization (2015)

In 2015 state representative David Simpson submitted HB 2165, proposing the recreational legalization of cannabis in Texas. A Tea Party-backed conservative, Simpson made a religious case for cannabis, stating: "I don’t believe that when God made marijuana, he made a mistake that government needs to fix.” In May Simpson's bill gained a majority of support in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, but was not excepted to make it further on the floor of the house in the limited time remaining in the legislative session.[7][8]

CBD oil (2015)

On 1 June 2015, governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, allowing the use of low-THC CBD oil to treat epilepsy in Texas. Abbott caveated his support: "I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana, nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes."[9] This followed a House vote of 96–34 on SB339.[10]


  1. Aaron Martinez, El Paso 4:10 p.m. MDT June 2, 2015 (2015-06-02). "100 years after El Paso becomes first city in U.S. to outlaw pot, debate remains the same". Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  3. 1 2 Richard Davenport-Hines (10 November 2003). The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics. W.W. Norton. pp. 239–. ISBN 978-0-393-32545-4.
  4. National Governors' Conference. Center for Policy Research and Analysis (1977). Marijuana: A Study of State Policies and Penalties. Department of Justice, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.
  5. Emmis Communications (March 1976). Texas Monthly. Emmis Communications. pp. 22–. ISSN 0148-7736.
  6. Gabriel G. Nahas (22 October 2013). Keep off the Grass: A Scientific Enquiry Into the Biological Effects of Marijuana. Elsevier. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-1-4832-8037-0.
  7. Phillip, Abby (1970-01-01). "Backed by the 'Christian case' for weed, legalization bill moves forward in Texas". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  8. Rosenthal, Brian M. (2015-05-07). "Texas House panel approves full legalization of marijuana - Houston Chronicle". Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  9. June 1, 2015 2:56 PM (2015-06-01). "Abbott Legalizes Cannabis Oil for Epilepsy Patients". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  10. May 18, 2015 7:40 PM (2015-05-18). "Cannabis Oil Approved for Epilepsy Patients". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
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