While a recent proposal aimed at establishing a taxed and regulated cannabis market in the state of Texas seemed to be more of a long shot than a three-legged horse coming out of the gate ass first, the motion managed to win the approval of a key legislative committee earlier this week, putting the possibility of legal weed back in action for 2015.
The bill, which was introduced by Republican State Representative David Simpson, appeared to have been swept under the rug seemingly due to the biblical nature used to support his case. House Bill 2165 suggests the mention of marijuana be eliminated from Texas statutes, regulating it no differently than tomatoes, because God would not have put weed on this Earth if he did not intend for his people to partake.
“All that God created is good, including marijuana,” said Simpson at a press conference in March. “God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix.”
Regardless of your religious affiliation, it is hard to argue that the cannabis plant is an evolutionary blunder, especially in the throes of the Bible belt. Perhaps this was a contributing factor in the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee putting its seal of approval on Simpson’s bill earlier this week. Now, the concept of legalizing marijuana in Texas in a manner similar to what is currently underway in Colorado and Washington has a real chance of making it to the House floor for consideration before the legislative session comes to a screeching halt this summer.
Marijuana proponents across the state are calling the passing of this bill a huge victory in the grand scheme of Texas pot reform, but they are not holding their breath for it to survive the legislative jungle up ahead. Just last week, the same committee threw out several bills aimed a reducing the penalties associated with marijuana possession, while the state has struggled to even pass a modest proposal aimed at legalizing a restricted medical marijuana program for seizure patients.
Therefore, there is a great deal of mystery behind the committee’s decision to push through a bill that would essentially put weed under the same regulatory force as the alcohol industry. The only adjustment made to the bill before allowing it to advance was a minor stipulation that pot consumption would remain illegal for minors without parental consent.
What happens next is the bill will be submitted to the committee that controls the calendar for the House floor. If it manages to receive a hearing date, it is conceivable the issue could be put up for a vote before June 1.
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