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 marijuana possession, but Texas won’t see much of an impact.

The owners of Oilwell Cannabis are getting ready to unveil their latest idea: a vending machine that will be filled with legal cannabidiol or CBD products.

The store owner, Collin Valencia, was previously charged with marijuana possession. “They face challenges with housing, credit and banking, I mean almost everything,” Valencia said.

Soon, select others will no longer face these challenges following the President’s announcement. “I would like to see that people don’t get hurt more for that,” said Valencia.

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

The pardon does not affect Valencia. As legal expert Steve Shellist explains, this only applies to certain federal convictions.

“Those who are currently being disenfranchised by a prosecution or a state conviction will not experience any relief,” Shellist said. He said a pardon allows people to carry a gun or avoid deportation.

“It restores rights that have been taken away, but it doesn’t remove them from their file,” Shellist said. The pardon applies to about 6,500 people.

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

A spokesman for Gov. Greg Abbott sent a statement to ABC13 that read:

“Texas is not used to seeking the advice of the criminal justice system from the leader of the Defund Police Party and someone who has overseen a criminal justice system run amok with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals.”

Taking to social media, Abbott’s opponent Beto O’Rourke said, “When I’m governor, we’re finally going to legalize marijuana in Texas and wipe out the files of those arrested for marijuana possession.”

Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said it would not be that easy.

“Governors do not have the power to unilaterally pass legislation,” Jones said. “It has to go through the Texas legislature, and the Texas legislature will have a Republican majority for at least the next two or four years.”

Don’t expect marijuana legalization in the upcoming session. However, this does not mean that the matter is not discussed.

“The best thing we will see in 2023 is the decriminalization of marijuana and medical marijuana. We won’t see legalization,” Jones said.

“That’s for sure.”

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Russell Falcon

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