SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – State Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio has pre-filed a bill that would legalize cannabis.
The Democrat who ousted Republican Pete Flores in the State Senate District 19 race last week made the legalization of marijuana for medical and adult recreation use one of his campaign platforms. Gutierrez says it would result in an estimated $3.2 billion in state revenue and create 30,000 jobs.
“There is going to be a budget shortfall to affect all Texans next legislative session, however, I look forward to working with my colleagues to offer a real solution,” Gutierrez said. “Our state’s economic future is uncertain and in order to best serve our state, we have to look at cannabis legalization as a solution and not keep going back to the taxpayers and raise their taxes.”
He notes that marijuana is legalized, either for medicinal or adult recreational use, in 3 dozen states.
“We’ve interview Texas mothers who are living with their autistic children in Colorado because cannabis helps control seizures,” Gutierrez told KTSA News.
Texas sales tax revenue has taken a big hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and State Comptroller Glenn Hegar has projected a possible deficit of nearly $4.6 billion dollars when the 2021 State Legislature convenes in January.
Monday was the first day to pre-file bills for the 87th legislative session, which is scheduled to begin January 12. Gutierrez’s proposed legislation to legalize cannabis is expected to face an uphill battle. Gov. Greg Abbott or Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have not been supportive of proposals to expand medicinal marijuana.
“I really believe that it’s a few people inside the bubble that have opinions that are based on myths, and quite frankly, they’re not based on science,” said Gutierrez.
He’s hoping they’ll have a change of heart as support for legalization of marijuana increases among Texans, and state lawmakers face a budget shortfall.