Marijuana Pardon: Legal Experts Explain Why Texas Won’t See Change After President Biden’s Announcement

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — President Joe Biden plans to pardon thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession of marijuana, but Texas won’t see much of an impact.

The owners of Oilwell Cannabis are preparing to launch their latest idea: a vending machine that will be stocked with legal cannabidiol, or CBD, products.

Store owner Collin Valencia has previously been charged with possession of marijuana. “You face challenges with housing, loans and banking, I mean with just about everything,” Valencia said.

Soon, some others will not face these challenges after the President’s announcement. “I wish people wouldn’t get injured for that anymore,” Valencia said.

RELATED: Biden pardons thousands convicted of ‘simple possession’ of marijuana

Grace has no impact on Valencia. As legal expert Steve Shellist explains, this will only apply to certain federal convictions.

“If someone is currently being disenfranchised through a state prosecution or conviction, they will not get any relief,” Shellist explained. He said a pardon allows people to carry a gun or avoid deportation.

“This restores the rights that were removed, but it doesn’t remove them from their record,” Shellist said. The pardon applies to approximately 6,500 people.

Rice University experts said there were 300,000 marijuana-related arrests statewide last year. President Biden has urged governors to do the same with state charges.

A spokesperson for Governor Greg Abbott sent ABC13 a statement that read:

“Texas doesn’t usually take criminal justice advice from the leader of the police defund party and someone who oversaw a broken criminal justice system with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals.”

On social media, Abbott’s opponent Beto O’Rourke said, “When I’m governor, we’ll finally legalize marijuana in Texas and expunge the records of those arrested for marijuana possession.”

Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, said it wouldn’t be so easy.

“Governors don’t have the power to pass laws unilaterally,” Jones explained. “It has to go through the Texas legislature, and the Texas legislature for at least the next two or four years is going to have a Republican majority.”

Don’t expect to see marijuana legalization next session. However, this does not mean that the issue will not be discussed.

“The most we’ll see in 2023 is the decriminalization of marijuana and medical marijuana. We’re not going to see legalization,” Jones said. “That’s for sure.”

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