Texas Marijuana Reform pushing for legalization!
Just this spring, marijuana reform activists and policy makers raised their heads at some new legislation—a surprise from the Texas House Panel that provoked whispers of Texas marijuana as the next step in the trend toward legalization of cannabis and laws that reclassify possession of marijuana.
The bill came from the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, convening in Austin, Texas.
Three democrats and two republicans made for a final vote of 5-2, which suggests an ongoing shift in the public’s perception of cannabis as a medicine and recreational drug—an open and more progressive view, in light of clinical evidence, new science, and media spot light. This new view of the plant recasts marijuana as a substance with low abuse potential and to which citizens have legal right to responsibly purchase, use, and acquire information on.
The push for medical marijuana in Texas is still underway. But the same panel in favor of recreational marijuana legalization gave their support to another bill that would first decriminalize cannabis—which some call a more realistic step to begin with, and may lead to more feasible legislation and legal windfalls down the line. And sooner.
Republican David Simpson, author of the bill, wishes to see more measures like probation; community interaction, raised awareness, social responsibility; and suspension and commuting of sentences for first or small-time marijuana offenders.
In an online Texas Tribune publication, Simpson frankly discussed his conservatism, Christian values, and his belief that the government is currently doing more harm than good with its long-standing War on Drugs policies. He called his standpoint the “Christian case for drug law reform.”
Asserting those policies to be counter productive and accomplishing “the exact opposite” of their intended effects, Simpson cited exotic designer drugs and infringement of constitutional protections in the name of drug elimination as outcomes of government involvement.
Simpson also added that Prohibition should be limited to violence.
With this kind of publicity and support for marijuana from unexpected sources, Texas could really be another state to join the march to legalize, which seems to be spreading across the nation.
Marijuana in Texas, a historically red state, would be unprecedented. So far, full marijuana legalization has been brought to ballot initiative and passed in the states of Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.
Most of these green states might in fact lean further left politically than Texas. But more than that, they are states that have historically existed on the frontier of American landscape and geographically, with cultural and political leanings that still foster Libertarian sentiments of small government and individual freedoms to grow—and perhaps smoke—as one likes.
The Lone Star State, known for its bigness, its brash ways and cowboy attitudes, could be a major victory not just for in-state patients and recreational consumers, but the entire marijuana legalization cause as it continues riding east.