HB 63

86(R) - 2019
House Criminal Jurisprudence
House Criminal Jurisprudence
Civil Procedure
Law Enforcement

Vote Recommendation

  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


Joe Moody

Bill Caption

Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marijuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

Fiscal Notes

Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB 63, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a positive impact of $5,262,202 through the biennium ending August 31, 2021. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.

Bill Analysis

HB 63 would make the possession of between 1 and 2 ounces of marijuanna a class B misdemeanor. A quantity of less than one ounce of marijuana would be punishable only by a civil penalty of up to $250, the imposition of the civil penalty would not be a conviction and could not be considered a conviction for any purposes. If three civil penalties have been assessed against an individual then a subsequent possession of marijuana would be a Class C misdemeanor. 

HB 63 also would prevent a peace officer from making an arrest solely because of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Courts may not issue arrest warrants or require bail for someone who possesses less than one ounce of marijuana. The court will assess if a person is indigent, if they are found to be indigent they may be ordered to complete up to 10 hours of community service instead of being assessed the civil penalty. The civil penalty may also be reduced if the person attends a program that provides education on substance abuse. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

Texas Action supports HB 63 because it promotes the principles of limited government and individual liberty. This bill promotes limited government by reducing the costs associated with criminal charges by making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense. Avoiding criminal trial proceedings and incarceration thus reducing government spending and the burden on taxpayers. It promotes individual liberty by preventing non-violent offenders who only possess less than one ounce of marijuana from being deprived of their freedom due to incarceration. This also prevents offenders from facing future employment and housing issues that arise from having a criminal record, thus increasing their ability to participate in the free market.