Never say never, especially in Texas. We recently wrote about a proposed bill that would end cannabis prohibition in Texas by regulating marijuana “like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee,” on the basis that “all God created is good, including marijuana.” Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) made what he’s calling the “Christian” case for legalization.
Wouldn’t you know it, this bill has actually gained traction and, in a move that bowled us over (and every other cannabis advocate in Texas), the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee just voted to pass House Bill 2165 in a 5-2 majority vote. The bill would make it legal to buy and sell cannabis, putting a tax on the plant similar to other agricultural taxes. While it makes no attempt to outline medical conditions or stipulations, if the bill were to pass, anyone who had a need or desire for cannabis could obtain it without any serious penalties.
Texas currently has harsh penalties for marijuana use and possession – 2 ounces or less could land you in jail for up to 180 days with a $2,000 fine. However, House Bill 507, which would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a small civil fine of $250, also passed through the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last week with a vote of 4-2.
Unfortunately, the legalization bill sat with no motions for two weeks before consideration by the House committee and, in order to actually go into effect, it still has to be approved by the full House and Senate before the legislative session ends June 1st. Whether or not the bill actually passes, advocates are hailing this vote as monumental progress for the largely conservative state.
Could it be that this bill is on a mission from God? Who knows – either way, we could potentially see legalized cannabis in Texas before the summer’s end!