State lawmakers talk reducing pot possession penalty - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

State lawmakers talk reducing pot possession penalty

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Tyler, TX (KYTX) -- The penalty for getting caught with small amounts of pot in Texas could change.

It's got parents in East Texas talking about what message that would send to our kids.

Raising 5 young children, Stephanie East keeps busy. She wants her kids to learn healthy habits early.

"We're telling them choices they make now are going to have an effect later on in their life," East said.

She's heard about HB 184, which would reduce the penalty of getting caught with an ounce or less of marijuana from a Class B to a Class C misdemeanor.

That means an offender would not go to jail.

"The message it's going to send them is no one cares, and if I can slide under the radar with this, what else can I do that might slide as well?" East asked.

Others are also concerned that with a lesser punishment, the availability and use of pot may go up.

"I have grand kids and I'd certainly discourage that for them," John Holt said.

Democratic State Representative Harold Dutton of Houston filed the bill, which has been shot down several times before. In addition to no longer facing jail time, offenders would pay a $500 fine, instead of a $2,000 fine.

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