Texas State Rep Wants To Remove Absolutely All Prohibitions On Marijuana
Bucking the trend of Republican opposition to marijuana on the federal level, Texas Republican state Rep. David Simpson has introduced a bill to strike any mention of marijuana prohibition in the Lone Star State.
“I am proposing that this plant be regulated like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee.” Simpson stated, according to KETK NBC. “Current marijuana policies are not based on science or sound evidence, but rather misinformation and fear. All that God created is good, including marijuana. God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix. Let’s allow the plant to be utilized for good—helping people with seizures, treating warriors with PTSD, producing fiber and other products—or simply for beauty and enjoyment. Government prohibition should be for violent actions that harm your neighbor—not of the possession, cultivation, and responsible use of plants.”
Simpson’s bill, which would strike down regulation of the drug beginning on Sept. 1, is quite distinct from previous legislative attempts in other states, which normally propose a careful regulatory and taxation framework, especially when considering legal marijuana. If the bill passes, marijuana would be regulated about as much as any other common crop. As a result, it’s unclear how the public will respond. Although a recent poll from UT/Texas Tribune shows that 76 percent of Texans are interested in reducing criminal penalties, the poll didn’t anticipate Simpson’s legislation to completely undo marijuana prohibition.
“It’s clear that reforming marijuana laws is a mainstream idea that has bipartisan support all across the country,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Different approaches are going to work best for different states, and it’s great to see a Republican lawmaker in Texas pushing for a solution he thinks will have traction there. At the end of the day, even though some legislative proposals will work better than others, we know that prohibition is a total disaster and almost any alternative would be a significant improvement.”
Other legislators in Texas have introduced bills to reform marijuana laws that are much more cautious. Democratic state Rep. Joe Moody is interested in decriminalization, and Moody’s recent bill would change an arrest into a $100 dollar fine, so long as the amount of marijuana is less than an ounce. No criminal conviction would be recorded. Others, like Republican state Reps. Kevin Eltife and Stephanie Klick, have forwarded legislation similar to Iowa’s, in which cannabis-derived oil could be used for intractable epilepsy. However, this bill has not garnered much popularity from marijuana supporters.
While medical marijuana programs exist in 23 states, only four states have taken the plunge so far and legalized marijuana.
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