Discussion of legalizing marijuana could come up this session

Budtender Trevor Hollis holds a pair of marijuana buds for a customer at the Denver Kush Club. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the start of the 85th Texas Legislative Session many lawmakers are wondering how they will fill in the budget deficit for 2017. This year $104.9 billion has been allotted for Texas, which is down $10 billion from 2015.

Some organizations say legalizing marijuana could be the solution to filling the gap lawmakers are working to close.

KXAN reached out to Jim Henson with the Texas Politics Project and he tells us why the idea is likely to come up this session.

“Anything you can legalize and then impose a sin tax has a little bit more of a chance. I think that has a small chance nonetheless there does seem to be national movement on marijuana and conservative rethinking of drug laws,” said Henson.

Two years ago, Texas lawmakers passed a law legalizing the use of low THC cannabis oil for epilepsy patients. The Texas Department of Public Safety is going to oversee the program when it begins next fall.

In December, Texas Senator Jose Menendez filed Senate Bill 269 to expand medical marijuana use for patients with debilitating and chronic medical conditions.

“I filed this bill because doctors, not politicians, should determine the best treatment for severely ill Texans,” Menendez said. “This is a legitimate medicine that can help a variety of sick people from a grandmother suffering from cancer to a veteran coping with PTSD.”

Right now, 28 states have legalized medical cannabis.

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