Marijuana

Marijuana Legalization Bill Advances in Texas

Medical cannabis and decriminalization of possession also win committee approval.

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Office of David Simpson

Remember David Simpson, the self-described constitutional conservative who opposes marijuana prohibition on Christian grounds and wants to legalize the plant in Texas? Yesterday his legalization bill, which eliminates marijuana offenses (except for sales to minors) from the Texas criminal code, cleared the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, making it theoretically possible that it will get a floor vote. The committee vote was 5 to 2, with Simpson (R-Longview) joined by one Republican, Todd Hunter (Corpus Christi), and three Democrats—Abel Herrero (Robstown), Joe Moody (El Paso), and Terry Canales (Edinburg)—in supporting the bill. Jeff Leach and Matt Shaheen, both Republicans representing the Dallas suburb of Plano, voted no.

Simpson's bill, H.B. 2165, is the third marijuana reform measure to win committee approval this week. On Monday the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee voted 4 to 2 in favor of H.B. 507, which would make possessing up to an ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine. Currently possession of two ounces or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of up to six months. H.B. 507, introduced by Moody, presumably has a better shot than H.B. 2165. A 2013 survey by Public Policy Polling found that 60 percent of Texas voters favored decriminalizing possession of up to an ounce, while 41 percent "strongly" supported treating marijuana like alcohol. Another 17 percent "somewhat" supported that policy.

Also this week, bills aimed at legalizing medical use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis cleared committees in the House and Senate. On Monday, by a vote of 8 to 1, the House Public Health Committee approved H.B. 892, which would create a system in which patients whose doctors recommend low-THC cannabis could obtain it from nonprofit producers licensed by the state. The Senate Health & Human Services Committee vote 8 to 1 in favor of a companion bill, S.B. 339, on Tuesday.

"We are pleased to see that the legislature is listening to the more than 20,000 Texans who have advocated for marijuana policy reform this year," says Phillip Martin, deputy director of Progress Texas. "These bills are an important step and we are eager to see them set promptly on the calendars so they can be considered by the full Texas Legislature."

Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, says his organization decided to back these bills after a donor offered a $100,000 matching grant to support reform in "a state where it's going to be really edgy, where if we win there, it's going to be a game-changing moment." Kampia, who has an apartment in Austin, picked Texas.

"I know that if we win there, we win the country," he says. "I know decrim has a chance in Texas already, and I know that while people like to think of Texas as very conservative, the people of Texas are not as conservative as people outside of Texas think, that Texas is going to turn from a Republican state to a Democratic state at some point in the next eight years. So I said we can give that a whirl….We hired a lobbyist, have a full-time staffer in Austin who's coordinating the grassroots, and now we're seeing real momentum in the legislature as a result of the focused effort."

Update: Today the Texas Senate approved the medical marijuana bill by a vote of 26 to 5.

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  1. POTHEEEEEEEADS!

    That is all.

  2. Dave’s not here, man.

  3. Texas really has the Mexican ass-weed market cornered. Wait. Is it ass-sex and Mexican weed? But the weed is mostly grown domestically these days. So Mexican sex and American weed, ass.

    1. Yeah, but good luck finding deep-dish pizza in the state.

      1. Why the fuck would you need that crap when you are in the home of great barbecue and Mexican food?

      2. *wakes up, rummages around nightstand, writes self note: “deep fat fried deep-dish pizza”*

    2. NEEDZ MOAR GAI

      1. Sorry couldn’t hear you while I was munching on my artisanal toast.

        1. Hold the mayo, and by “hold” I mean “cherish”. It’s crafted with locally sourced (Bushwick) garlic and kale.

        2. Sorry couldn’t hear you while I was munching on my artisanal toast.

          WE EAT BUTTER KRUST BREAD IN THIS STATE, Y’HEAR?

          1. Butter what?

            MRS. BAIRD’S, BITCH.

  4. That’s very nice, but what are the chances it actually passes?

    1. From what I’ve seen, they’re at about 80-90%. They’ll leave strict penalties for DUI-drugs in pace and collect a bunch of revenue that would otherwise have to come from more toll roads.

      1. Thanks, and that actually is encouraging even if it still allows cops the “I detected the smell of marijuana on him” excuse to perform a search.

        1. I do’t think it will if possession is stricken from the law. They don’t search a car for booze here when they smell it on a driver. They just give a FST and lock him up if he fails.

          1. lock him up if when he fails.

            1. lock him up if when he fails.

              No, no need to fix. Lock him up if he fails, beat the shit out of him if he passes. /cops

  5. Texas, huh? Who knew?

  6. self-described constitutional conservative who opposes marijuana prohibition on Christian grounds and wants to legalize the plant in Texas

    This seems fairly subversive of the general order of things as I’ve observed them.

    It will be weird, in a few years, when marijuana is close to legal here in the states, but still illegal in all the countries the US gov pestered, coerced, or led to ban it that might not have otherwise.

    Also, hat tip Brett L.

    1. Yeah. But do those other countries even spend anywhere close to what we do on enforcement? Sure the laws may be on the books, but we actually do something with them. That said, watching this tide turn is good.

  7. My mom makes $70 every hour on the computer . She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her pay was $18079 just working on the computer for a few hours.
    See here. ?? ????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  8. that Texas is going to turn from a Republican state to a Democratic state at some point in the next eight years.

    That’s a steep price to pay for legal weed.

    1. “That’s some price to pay for being stylish….”

      /Harry Callahan

      1. Well it’s my ass!

  9. Glad to see this passed by legislature rather than by referendum. Hopefully other states will follow suit.

  10. I wonder what new excuse law enforcement will fabricate when “I smelled marijuana” is no longer valid?

    1. Go with the classics, Paul. “Furtive movement” or “acting nervous”. See? Thank me later from your holding cell.

      1. I think the classics are overrated.

      2. You forgot to tell him don’t eat the white powdery substance he finds in his cell that later turns out to be meth.

      3. You forgot to tell him don’t eat the white powdery substance he finds in his cell that later turns out to be meth.

    2. Who says it won’t be?

      The cop says he smells weed and hauls you off for drug testing. In the meantime your car impounded and the police can rummage through your glove compartment at their leisure, since with a suspicion of DUI, they cannot in good faith let you drive it home.

      Meanwhile back at the testing center, that second hand marijuana smoke you accidentally inhaled at a Bob Dylan concert 3 months ago showed in your blood, and you’re subsequently arrested.

      1. But cops have used that in far more than traffic stops. They’ve used it to search everything everywhere.

    3. “I smelled Mexican.”

      1. Sorry, Taco Cabana has become gastrointestinally “interesting” since last I was here.

    4. I wonder what new excuse law enforcement will fabricate when “I smelled marijuana” is no longer valid?

      A coworker of mine was flabbergasted the other day when I claimed that “I smelled marijuana” is routinely used to eviscerate the 4th amendment obligation to get a warrant. He just could not accept that it’s a truly widespread practice. The naivete of your average 60 year old is astounding.

  11. the people of Texas are not as conservative as people outside of Texas think, that Texas is going to turn from a Republican state to a Democratic state at some point in the next eight years.

    Seems like specious reasoning. We know full well that conservatives are becoming more comfortable with the idea of decriminalized weed and medical marijuana.

    I would think gun control, among other issues, would still prevent Democrats from ever winning Texas.

    1. Yeah, tossing that remark in there made me question his sanity and everything he previously said.

    2. This guy is in Austin. Really, need we say more? The entire city should be walled off and air-freighted back to California.

      I’m not going to go so far as to call the guy a moron. I know Austin, and after living for a few years in that Cali-soaked utopia, anyone might be deafened by the echo chamber.

      Eighty years, maybe, and by then I expect the Dems will be the conservative party.

      1. A college buddy and I determined that Austin and Bakersfield had been switched at birth, and were in the wrong states.

        1. Fuck that. Shit on Austin all you want. Don’t call us Californian.

        2. I larfed, because I’ve been to both.

    3. Seems like specious reasoning. We know full well that conservatives are becoming more comfortable with the idea of decriminalized weed and medical marijuana.

      No, I think he’s referring to the ongoing Hispanicization of Texas. Because Hispanics=Democrats.

      1. There’s no evidence that the Hispanicization of Texas is turning it blue.

        1. I’m not saying that is the case, but that’s what he believes.

          1. Okay.

      2. He’s delusional, unless the Dems do actually succeed in opening the border with Mexico (even more) and giving non-citizens the right to vote.

        1. That still won’t turn Texas blue. Hispanics aren’t auto-Dems.

        2. Let’s do the math, just for fun.

          The last governor’s election went 60/40 for the Repubs. There’s about 19mm voting age Texans. Call it a rough split, by voting age population, of 11.4mm Repubs v 7.6mm Dems, or a spread of 3.8mm.

          Let’s assume that shiny new immigrants who owe their voting status to the Dems will break 90% Dem. That would mean the Dems need to import 4.2mm voting age immigrants to break even.

          Yeah, not gonna happen.

    4. There are blue states with better gun laws than Texas, believe it or not.

      1. Until Initiative 594, Washington was one of them.

      2. Vermont especially, although open carry is also being discussed thus year.

      3. Vermont comes to mind, certainly. But I think what gun control symbolizes is anathema to a lot of gun owners, not just in Texas but also in states with large rural populations like Colorado, Nevada, etc.

      4. Texas has a pretty typical CCW licensing requirement. For concealed carry, its solidly in the pack, although behind “Constitutional Carry” states.

        Texas also has a bizarre blanket ban on open carry. I’d love to know the history, and I understand there’s a bill to repeal it in process. But its definitely trailing the pack on open carry.

        1. history is oppressive Yankee occupation and Reconstruction. Pretty simple, really. We are just casting off 150 years of northern oppression by going OC this year.

  12. I wanted to read this article, but…then I got high.

    1. Wanna get high?

      1. Don’t forget to bring a towel!

        1. Hmm, so it’s THAT kind of beach. Well excuse my blood flow, I guess I’ll have to go where nature can be natural and excitement isn’t bottled like wooden ship.

          1. Wooden ships in bottles are old news.

            Putting birds in them is the newest rage.

    2. I was gonna read the news, but then I got high
      Gonna find out what was true, but then I got high
      My info isn’t sourced, and I know why
      Because I got high
      Because I got high, because I got high

      LA DA DUT DUT DADADAH

      1. Towelie, you’re the worst character ever.

        1. Sing, motherfucker! I know you know the words.

  13. I’ve heard of lots of Republican moms who don’t want their sons and daughters subjected to the kindly attentions of the state because of a FRICKIN’ WEED.

  14. Rob Kampia blew it with his stupid little Team dig. If he had said, “Texas is conservative. We Texans believe in individual liberty, responsibility, and small government. Decriminalization is a fundamentally conservative action,” he would have appealed to far more people there.

    Know your audience. The rest of Texas ain’t Austin.

    1. I blame Austin for Governor Goodhair. I blame them entirely.

      1. No, Austin went big time for Abortion Barbie.

        1. I’m sure I can sort it out in my head somehow so it’s still Austin’s fault.

          1. DON’T TALK SMACK ABOUT AUSTIN!

            Any city that could spawn Whip In, has the largest bat colony in the world, and has statues of SRV and Willie downtown deserves respect and admiration.

            1. Yeah, I actually like Austin…and will be there to see Rush next weekend.

              My first Rush show will likely be their last major tour. That’s a bit of a bummer.

              1. If I were in Austin next weekend, I’d go see Matt the Electrician. Insufferable proggie, but a fine band.

            2. Austin is a fun town, no question.

              But being a fun town is a long way from being in charge of Texas, and just as long a way from being who should be in charge of Texas.

              1. Exactly. Austin isn’t your audience, it’s the other 98% of Texas. And the other 98% of Texas hates them some Austin.

                Damn, I really miss living there. Other than the heat.

              2. It’s like Michael Ian Black said: every state should have at least one crazy college town and at least one megachurch.

            3. Sixth Street has it’s appeal. And a Willie statue is not to be sneezed at, this is true.

              On the other hand… Austin. Gluten-free artisanal quiche-eaters in the land of brisket and barbacoa. I’m so judging them.

              1. Sixth Street is for tourists. The real deal is South Austin, Red River, and (more recently) East Austin south of the school.

                1. Oh, and Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. All that unhealthy unpasteurized shit.

                  1. I’m from three hours (two, if you drive like my husband!) south of Austin. The entire city exists so we can get drunk on Sixth, go to concerts, get cheaper flights than in SA, and serve as the focus of my hate.

                    The better half wants to move there, it’s the Silicon Valley of the South and that’s his field, but I think I’d rather move in with his sister. The one who hates white people.

              2. Rainey streets pretty cool

                1. Yeah. Annie Street as well. The Collective did some very interesting stuff.

                2. If you wanna see rainy streets you gotta come to the PNW… 😉

            4. SRV = Stevie Ray Vaughan

    2. My understanding is that it don’t matter who’s in Austin, Bob Wills is still the king.

      1. +1 San Antonio Rose.

      2. Thread winner!

      3. FACT.

  15. OT: Police officer actually charged with crimes for killing somebody

    Nesquehoning police officer Steven Homanko was driving 113 mph when he crashed last year on Route 209 in Carbon County during a chase while on duty, causing a collision that killed a 69-year-old woman, authorities said.

    1. I’ve driven 209 and 113 mph is nuts on that road. The speed limit is 45-55 mph, a lane in each direction, and lots of up and down and curves. It is unbelievably reckless to chase a speeder who passed over the double yellow. Ah, the morning call, reminds me of high school.

  16. Jeff Leach and Matt Shaheen, both Republicans representing the Dallas suburb of Plano, voted no.

    So I have this totes cray-donkulous idea. Maybe those Plano Republicans can ride the localization sentiment a bit further and support legalization statewide, but have municipal ordinances for possession in the moral stronghold of Plano. Plano will be the gem of the Republic, attracting only the finest “hands off my guns, hands off my drug laws” folk.

    1. Fucking plano retards banned vaping in bars. They’re the worst.

    2. Plano is almost worse than Nicole.

      Almost.

      1. Hmmm. I still hate Plano more. But that’s because I had to drive outside the jurisdiction when I was 20 to rent a hotel room so I could bang my gf at the time who was living with her aunt in Plano. Fuck their stupid “anti-drug” rules. I also knew a guy who had been the proximate cause of that rule. Plano, in short, sucks sweaty bum nuts.

      2. If Austin has been californicated by an excess of immigrants from the West, Plano has been yankified by immigrants from the North. It’s basically a Yankee colony in Texas.

        All of the worst Yankee statist innovations have support in Plano. I’m surprised they haven’t adopted a ban on Big Gulp sales and salt in restaurants.

        So far, however, Plano remains a GOP bastion of country-club Republicans with a fading remnant of socons. The fact that Plano recently legalized liquor sales illustrates how much its socon influence has faded of late.

        Only the libertarian strain of Republicans supports mj legalization, and it’s pretty sparse in the North Dallas suburbs.

  17. OT (but still Texas news): I guess we’re going to schedule the c-sec for June 19 and we’re finalizing the name of this next one.*

    I’m for Justice Forall Moe Spicer if she comes that day and Justice Forall Buckeye Spicer if any other day..

    *If a considerable fee can be negotiated, we will consider an alternative AS LONG AS IT IS IN NO WAY RELATED TO DUNE.

    1. how about ‘Viagra’

      1. That name is completely unnecessary for any child of mine to be stuck with.

    2. Way to suck the fun out of everything.

      Fun-sucker.

    3. Cafehayek?

    4. Tenderloin Isthenight Spicer.

    5. Ayn Abrams?

    6. Ungoliat?

    7. Thor

    8. Kessel Parsecs Spicer

    9. TeeveesLevy Remy Spicer

    10. Dee Jennerette?

    11. Sweet. Good luck to all participants.

    12. Lando Lakes Bruce D. Jennerette Spicer

  18. Hang On?

  19. …the people of Texas are not as conservative as people outside of Texas think, that Texas is going to turn from a Republican state to a Democratic state at some point in the next eight years.

    Way to galvanize the right not to support legalization.

  20. Jeff Leach and Matt Shaheen, both Republicans representing the Dallas suburb of Plano, voted no.

    The tyranny of the soccer moms, on display.

  21. Texas is going to turn from a Republican state to a Democratic state

    I love my adopted state and would not wish this fate on my worst enemy.

  22. Let’s hope there’s no spiteful nanny-staters in charge of scheduling these bills for a vote.

    “The pot legalization bill? Yeah, I’ll get around to it… in a few days, maybe… I need to get past Level 843 of Candy Crush first…”

  23. the people of Texas are not as conservative as people outside of Texas think, that Texas is going to turn from a Republican state to a Democratic state at some point in the next eight years

    Dude is high, right now. Texas isn’t turning blue, it got redder than ever in 2014. That said, it shows the hackery of certain drug activists, as if this is a GOP/Dem fight. It’s not.

  24. I know that while people like to think of Texas as very conservative, the people of Texas are not as conservative as people outside of Texas think

    It would be more accurate to say conservatism isn’t what most people think.

  25. Somehow I’m doubtful Greg Abbott will sign a bill legalizing weed if it even passes. I could be wrong, but I’m not getting my hopes up…

    1. It’d be nice if that one medical MJ bill had the same affirmative vote margin (5/6th!) in the House. Then there’d be a veto-proof majority and it wouldn’t be an issue.

  26. “I know decrim has a chance in Texas already, and I know that while people like to think of Texas as very conservative, the people of Texas are not as conservative as people outside of Texas think, that Texas is going to turn from a Republican state to a Democratic state at some point in the next eight years.”

    Yeah, Alaska also legalized pot at the same time they elected a Republican to the Senate and a former Republican calling himself an Independent to the Governorship. Pot is definitely not an indicator that a state is going to turn blue.

    On a brighter note, considering that it’s a social conservative pushing this bill you could argue that maybe evangelicals are finally coming around to the libertarian ideal of “you leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone.”

    1. Walker is a dem. I don’t care what he calls himself. Lots of candidates up here call themselves republican to get elected.
      And if I read ‘joint committee’ in the paper one more time I’m gonna lose it.

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