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Gov. Abbott: Marijuana Pardons Not Happening in Texas

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott responded to President Joe Biden's recent action on pardoning people who have been convicted of simple marijuana possession charges. | Image by Brandon Bell, Getty Images

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President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of people convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law on Thursday and urged governors to do the same at the state level. 

In response to Biden’s announcement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s spokesperson, Renae Eze, issued a statement making it clear that pardons of marijuana offenses will not be happening in the Lone Star state.

“Texas is not in the habit of taking criminal justice advice from the leader of the defund police party and someone who has overseen a criminal justice system run amuck with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals,” reads the statement. “The Governor of Texas can only pardon individuals who have been through the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles system with a recommendation for pardon.”

Biden’s federal pardon will affect at least 6,500 people, according to The New York Times. It will not apply to people convicted of selling or distributing marijuana or to non-citizens who were in the U.S. unlawfully at the time of their arrest.

Gov. Abbott has previously expressed interest in reducing the criminal penalty for marijuana possession. At a campaign event in Edinburg in January, Abbott said he believes “prison and jail is a place for dangerous criminals who may harm others, and small possession of marijuana is not the type of violation that we want to stockpile jails with.”

Still, the governor has consistently been against fully legalizing the drug, as reported by The Dallas Express.  

Abbott’s Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Beto O’Rourke, took the opportunity to share that if elected, he plans to take things a step further than just pardoning those convicted of marijuana possession.

“When I’m governor, we will finally legalize marijuana in Texas and expunge the records of those arrested for marijuana possession,” O’Rourke tweeted Thursday following Biden’s announcement.

O’Rourke has previously argued that legal marijuana would provide significant revenue to the state and reduce property taxes, as reported in The Dallas Express.  

“Right now, we spend half a billion dollars a year locking people up for a substance that is legal in most of the country, most of the rest of the developed world,” O’Rourke said while in Dallas in April. “We also lose out on, conservatively speaking, half a billion dollars in tax revenue.”

Since 2012, 19 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam have legalized marijuana for recreational use. According to a recent Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll, more than half of Texans either support or strongly support legalizing marijuana. 

67% of those surveyed last month said they would either support or strongly support the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use. Last year, the Texas Legislature did approve a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to include all forms of post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

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David Barnett
David Barnett
1 month ago

Beto, Beto , Beto ….Property taxes are not set or controlled by the state !

GWHitlock
GWHitlock
1 month ago

Our goofus governor is SO behind the times. Let’s get ride of this fake “Christian.” He’s doing his part taking bribes from the electric grid, but smoke, oh no!!

Lanie
Lanie
1 month ago

Abbott continues to show that even though it would be the right move to let marijuana possessors out of jail, because Biden said it should be done, he is not going to let it happen. He is behind the times and needs to be voted out of office.

Rusty Barnaett
Rusty Barnaett
Reply to  Lanie
1 month ago

Maybe But the Idiot Beto is not the person. I’m a lifelong republican but they are wrong on Religion Weed and abortion. So I’ll not send a penny to help this year

RnJ
RnJ
1 month ago

Why??? Eight years of this and Texans still support him. This man needs to move far away and get out of politics. Anyone would be a better improvement at this point.

Keepin it real!
Keepin it real!
1 month ago

Texas is literally surrounded by states that have either totally legalized marijuana or approved it for medical use. This is how out of touch our Fascist Republican regime is.

Janet
Janet
Reply to  Keepin it real!
1 month ago

And another example of how the will of the people are ignored for the benefit of those who in reality want power and political gain for themselves while CLAIMING to represent the wishes of the citizens of Texas!

Anna
Anna
1 month ago

Kudos to Governor Abbott for NOT bending to #ApplesauceBrainsBiden our pedophile in chief who is for defunding the police and has criminals, not only in his family including himself, but, in his cabinet!!

M. Hatami
M. Hatami
1 month ago

This man has nothing to do with (Property Tax Rate ) , cities set the tax rates not state government! He has not fix the electrical grid , and Has no plan to fix it. He intentionally exasperated boarder problem in order to politically benefit from it. He made purchasing guns in Texas easier than buying groceries! Our school and education system is a mess! When it came to women’s right and choices over their bodies , he enforced laws worse than (sharia laws) . Even in Iran women has more rights when it comes to their complicated pregnancy! This Abbott man needs to go . This man lives and govern like the 19 and early 20 century! We need a change of gear to stir and cruise into 21st century ! We can’t let China overtake us( US)!

John Finley
John Finley
Reply to  M. Hatami
1 month ago

The baby boomers are getting to that age where we can making laws that fit our lifestyles…Most of my friends enjoy a toke including me so let’s make it convenient and go ahead and legalized it.

Nic
Nic
1 month ago

Beto is a joke….who cares if he would legalize weed, he would destroy our state with his Liberal woke agenda. Look at the social experiments in other democratic states… why do you think folks from those states are fleeing in droves and moving to Texas and Florida! Move to California or New York where you can smoke weed and have abortions at will but you will live in poverty because of crushing income taxes, be a victim of violent crime, live in filth because of homelessness and open drug use, you won’t have a say in your child’s education curriculum and political gender theory and critical race theory will be programmed while they are failing basic minimum academic testing.