Austin, Texas
April 8, 2015

Honorable Abel Herrero, Chair, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB2165 by Simpson (Relating to repealing marihuana offenses.), As Introduced

The provisions of the bill addressing felony sanctions for adult offenders are the subject of this analysis.  The bill would amend the Health and Safety Code to legalize the possession and delivery of marihuana. The bill would make conforming changes to various other codes. The possession and distribution of marihuana is punishable at all felony levels, depending upon the circumstances.

A first-degree felony is punishable by confinement in prison for life or five to 99 years, a second-degree felony for two to 20 years, a third-degree felony for two to ten years, and a state jail felony is punishable by confinement in a state jail for 180 days to two years. In addition to confinement all felony level offenses are subject to an optional fine not to exceed $10,000.

Reducing the circumstances for which a criminal penalty is applied is expected to decrease demands on state and/or county correctional agency resources due to fewer people under community supervision and in state correctional institutions.  In fiscal year 2014, 84,327 people were arrested, 1,551 were placed under felony community supervision, and 1,327 were admitted to state correctional institutions for possession or distribution of marihuana.  Assuming sentencing patterns and policies not addressed in the bill remain constant, the probable impact on adult correctional populations of implementing the provisions of the bill during each of the first five years following passage is estimated as follows:

Fiscal Year Decrease In Demand For TDCJ Correctional Institution Capacity Decrease In Demand For Felony Community Supervision Decrease In Demand For Parole Capacity
2016 1,327 1,551 0
2017 1,327 1,551 397
2018 1,327 1,551 666
2019 1,327 1,551 666
2020 1,327 1,551 666

Source Agencies:
LBB Staff:
UP, KJo, LM, JPo