By Alicia Neaves
An ad released early Tuesday by the Coalition of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy has its eyes set on one goal, to reduce punishment for low-level marijuana possession.
The ad is focused on House Bill 507. If passed, the bill will remove the threat of arrest, jail time and criminal record if a person is caught with one ounce or less of marijuana. Instead, these offenders will face a civil fine of up to $250.
The Marijuana Policy Project made the ad on behalf of the coalition.
"The laws that are in the books are not working. They do not reduce the use of marijuana. They do not make it less available to children. What we need to have are sensible policies," said Heather Fazio, Texas Political Director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
The ad will run in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin until Thursday at midnight as the deadline approaches for legislators to approve the bill.
"This bill is about good government and good public policy. It would help to streamline our very limited and valuable police and criminal justice resources. Something that affects all Texans," said Fazio.
Current law punishes those who are caught with less than two ounces of marijuana with six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
The Marijuana Policy Project says 3 out of 4 Texas voters are ready for marijuana law reform.
So NewsWest 9 went to find out what West Texans think about it.
"If people really knew the facts about marijuana, that it eats your brain cells in a matter of years, you'll have no cells. Why should you have to do that? I think they should just go to jail," said a Midland resident who wished to remain anonymous.
"It's legal in two other states and they're not rioting and having all these problems in their state. I think that there's nothing wrong with marijuana. I think that it's made too big of a deal and there's too many people in prison for it when we need other people in prison," said Midland resident, Melissa Burns.
"I think people need to go to jail if they're caught with illegal drugs and if it's marijuana, cocaine, whatever it is, if they want to do illegal things then they've got to pay the price," said Midland resident, Anthony Noll.
Legislators have until midnight on Thursday to approve House Bill 507 in order for it to advance to the Senate.