Two Texas Lawmakers Have Filed Bills to Decriminalize Marijuana

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If you don't know anything about Elliott Naishtat, you can go here, where you'll learn that he likes to color with crayons, wears the same shirt every July 4, is pretty sure he'd make a fantastic president and loves buffets.

He's also a Democratic state representative from Austin who, though it's not mentioned in the aforementioned list, thinks Texas' drug laws are too strict. Last week, he filed a bill to that would make the lives of medical marijuana users a bit less taxing.

Naishtat's bill wouldn't make medical marijuana legal per se. It would simply decriminalize it by removing the penalties for those caught using or prescribing it.

Specifically, those charged with possession could be acquitted if the drug had been recommended by a licensed doctor "for the amelioration of the symptoms or effects of a bona fide medical condition."

The proposal goes a step further when it comes to doctors, prohibiting police, the Texas Medical Board and any other public agency from launching an investigation or punishing doctors solely because they prescribe marijuana.

Naishtat's proposal is far from the type of comprehensive drug reform that even the Morning News thinks is needed, but it would be a step.

So would a bill filed by Representative Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat who proposes reducing the penalty for possessing less than an ounce of weed from a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail, to a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a possible $500 fine and no jail time.

Such measures have stalled during past legislative sessions, but this time they seem they might have the support of at least part of the conservative establishment. According to a Morning News editorial, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, and the Texas Association of Business have come to the conclusion that locking people up for low-level drug offenses is bad for business.

It's not exactly a declaration of love for marijuana, but it's from a voice that Republican lawmakers might actually listen to.


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59 comments
iamshaun
iamshaun

Ending cannabis prohibition one Texan at a time!

Coleman Chance
Coleman Chance

wow, such a flippant attitude about the law of the land.

Aaron Dietrich
Aaron Dietrich

glad to see people still have some sense of humor, Mr Chance..... a class C offense will not land you in jail unless your a out of control repeat offender or refuse to pay said fine...

Brandon Bourland
Brandon Bourland

as a conservative, former youth pastor, I believe that it should be legalized. kick the cartels in the pants and jump start this economy, treat and tax it like alcohol. give me my guns and herb. :)

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

Wait until Colorado and Washington show huge enrollments in the universities and colleges along with an increase in tax revenue from restaurants and businesses that grow and sell pot. Then other states will follow. Even Texas. Because even those "moral" Christians like to see their property taxes low and the non inclusion of a state income tax. Remember when a state lottery was laughed at?

Tony Sawyer
Tony Sawyer

Yeah, and when exactly was that decriminalized? I'll believe that when I see proof of how a cop handles it. I'm sure most cops won't take it so lightly.

Aaron Dietrich
Aaron Dietrich

the libs can have their Marijuana If I can keep my machine guns.........

Coleman Chance
Coleman Chance

Everything I've read with a quick google search has said a max fine of $200 and/or up to 180 days in jail for being in possession of >2oz of marijuana. That's a little more serious than Jaywalking, which carries a fine of about $100.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

The Neocons gave the govt the green light to ban a non-toxic plant like industrial hemp (zero deaths).  They are now surprised that the government wants to ban guns (30,000 deaths per year).  Enjoy your big government gun-grabbing intrusion into your private business, suckers.  You asked for it!


“I do not think marijuana is America's #1 public health problem. That bad distinction goes to firearms - access to which I am also in favor of restricting and tightening.“

–David Frum, Anti-Marijuana activist and founding member of “Smart Approaches to Marijuana”



Tony Sawyer
Tony Sawyer

No kidding. Texas would be the last state in the US to do anything forward thinking about marijuana. You can't even say bong in a smoke shop here.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart

Stridant gun ownership & legalized pot = a combination that gives me peace. I'll be a lot less worried about the gun ratio in this state if everyone is one toke over the line.

jverner
jverner

Legalize it, regulate it and tax it. That's a win-win-win. Plus that would be a blow to the drug lords who run northern Mexico.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@ Mike: The failed anti-marijuana laws are used to hassle innocent citizens and deprive us all of our constitutional rights.

The 'stop and frisk' policies have been unconstitutional and ineffective at catching 'criminals'.

In addition, this prohibition leads to humiliating same-sex body cavity searches.

Ashley Dobbs and aunt Angel Dobbs are suing female state trooper Kelley Helleson, who administered the searches with the same latex glove, and trooper David Farrell. The searches took place near Irving in July after someone allegedly threw a cigarette from the window of their vehicle.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/humiliating-cavity-search-traffic-stop-sparks-suit-article-1.1223901


MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Are police really out there arresting people for the sole purpose of hauling in small time users or are they using the drug laws to go after the numerous thieves, robbers and other low lifes with an easy charge to prove or force compliance on other charges?  How many people are really in prison whose sole illegal activity is tiny amount of possession?  If that was the case, prison would look like a scout jamboree and not be the zoo it is.  It may be their only conviction, but that's because getting them for burglary or shopping hot parts would add minimal incremental time and takes too much time.  They are gang members or in some other group up to no good.  Bust them for pot or other drug and stick them in the joint for a few years.  Force to roll over on some other low life they likely know is committing serious crimes physically hurting good people.  People that do crime as their job use illegal drugs.  It is a tool that protects us from them. 

monstruss
monstruss

@Aaron Dietrich you have no idea what you're talking about and your mustard face is hilarious. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@GuitarPlayer Texas has seen billions of lost gambling revenues go to Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Nevada and has done nothing; do you really think the stubborn old Bible-thumpers are going to budge on pot, even though you may very well be right?

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@GuitarPlayer If kids are going to college just to smoke weed, then they're not going to stick around anyways. Wait, are colleges in those states adding that to their marketing spiel?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Aaron Dietrich what you can't have is the claim that Machine guns are of any real tactical value.  Special forces don't use autofire when assaulting a building.  If you're using a machine gun in autofire, the shit has really hit the fan. and you're on a suicide mission.  That said, if you want to play, safely with such toys, I don't care. 

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@Aaron Dietrich War on drugs = war on guns.

Forty one Republican senators voted with their Democrat partners in crime in 1993 to enact Joe Biden's Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (H.R. 3355).  The main focus of the Act was to increase the number of drug war prisoners and restrict gun ownership through the assault weapons ban.

Also, the 1994 act made protesting in front of an abortion clinic a federal crime.  The "War on Drugs©" has become an excuse to take away our constitutional rights, including the right to free speech and the right to keep and bear arms.  




GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@Aaron Dietrich Smoke weed, then you won't care about a stupid machine gun.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

machine guns are illegal, unless you got $$$ to buy license...vote libertarian. they say they wouldn't try to steal our guns or our weed.

poppacraig
poppacraig

@Aaron Dietrich

Vote libertarian, they will let you have both.

poppacraig
poppacraig

@Coleman Chance

The punishment goes much further than that.

Beyond limiting employment options, Texas universities have a zero tolerance policy. If you get busted for possession while enrolled as a student ON OR OFF CAMPUS, you are expelled and cannot attend a TX stare school for 2 full years

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@kevin_hunt ummmm, you're really confused about "neo-cons" and then close by quoting one.  Neo-cons don't have any one position on this.  Neo-cons are known for their foreign policy/hawkish views. particularly relative to Israel.  David Frum is one of biggest neo-cons walking.

lrjordan
lrjordan

@jverner Marijuana is illegal so that the cartels do not flood the streets with heroin.  The government knows that Pot is not that bad so they allow the cartels to make their money on a week drug rather than the dangerous ones.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

in concealed handgun class, we were taught that it is legal  for a citizen to use deadly force to prevent certain crimes such as armed robbery, arson, carjacking, RAPE. it looked to me like those women were being sexually assaulted. just sayin'....if that was your mother or wife....how would you interpret that scene?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@MikeWestEast Those other charges are far more substantial.  And, I've never heard of a cop trying to get them to roll over on others except at university or some other cloistered world.  The Criminal Justice system just consumes whatever is in front if it's mouth, like a cow that never looks up. 

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

it is a tool used by law enforcement to railroad anybody. maybe you or me.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@MikeWestEast There are countless videos on Youtube put up by people getting pulled over and harassed by cops trying to bust them for weed. 

The Prison Lobby, who represents corporations who run many prisons in this country are constantly trying to keep pot illegal. They know that public opinion is turning for the the legalization of it. The Arizona immigration law was written BY that lobby to try to keep their prisons full of illegals because they know that in 20 years they will need something to keep them in business. Stay ignorant, the world needs more ditch diggers.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@MikeWestEast This is either a troll or an incredibly stupid comment. A lot of people who smoke or even sell weed don't do anything else illegal like you're implying. And not being able to justify the action itself as a crime proves to me that it shouldn't be a crime. 

Also, regarding your comment about it being a "scout jamboree and not the zoo it is," Stanford did a nice little experiment in the 70's that does a good job proving you wrong. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@MikeWestEast 

No, it is a tool that allows our law enforcement apparatus, top to bottom, to be lazy and look like they are doing something that makes a difference. If they had more time to focus on real law enforcement, we'd likely see a substantial reduction in the types of petty crimes you describe.


Prohibition of Drugs, much like prohibition of alcohol causes far more problems than it solves.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@poppacraig and, your license is automatically suspended for mere possession.  And, your driving record will state "DRUG ARREST" on the top line for 10 years.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@scottindallas Please show me an example of a Neocon that currently advocates legalization.  

All of the Republicans that I know that advocate legalization are libertarian-leaning.

Neocons = Reagan Democrats

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@lrjordan @jverner Or...they could sell it in stores and remove the need for any marijuana user to associate with criminals that might offer them hard drugs.

I have never been offered hard drugs by the guy that sells me beer at the grocery store.  

I imagine if I was buying beer from Al Capone, I would be offered all sorts of substances.

Mervis
Mervis

So you are saying that if pot is made legal that you will add heroin to your routine because you need to buy something illegal?

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@hilllbillle Looks like rape to me.  

Roman Polanski supporter Whoopi Goldberg would call it "rape-rape" to make it sound more enjoyable.

It's curious how Neocons disapprove of consensual same-sex encounters but strongly approve of non-consensual same-sex encounters like the one perpetrated by officer Helleson.

I propose that all future body cavity searches be performed by an officer of the opposite sex as the suspect; and giving the suspect the right to request a 'happy ending'.  

Heck, I might consider becoming a cop in TX, if I could feel up some spring break hotties and get paid for it.


DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@GuitarPlayer @MikeWestEast I'm for the legalization of marijuana. That being said, as a parent that usually has 2-3 kids in tow, if someone is smoking out in their car, hell yeah I want them pulled over just like I want Bubba slurping on his 32oz Miller High Life pulled over. Do this stuff where you can't hurt anyone else, can we agree on that?

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@alteredjusticeI agree. We have about 40,000 long term pot prisoners.  In addition, we have about 2,000 at any given moment awaiting bail on minor possession charges.  

In spite of 80 years of persecution in the most horrible ways imaginable, marijuana users still have easy access to their relatively inexpensive product.

Anyone ignoring the fact that legalization would be the best way to handle this issue is being willfully ignorant.

Jose Guerana, an Iraq war veteran was gunned down by an AZ SWAT team who was trying to reach their quota of drug raids. No drugs were found. The officers denied paramedics access to their victim and allowed Guerena to bleed to death in front of his 4 year old son. 

Source: Fox News


kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@TheCredibleHulkTrue, marijuana prohibition has made the murderous cartels rich, just like alcohol prohibition made Al Capone rich.

No one buys Mexican cartel brickweed in Colorado. It is all grown in state and sold at stores.


scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@DirtyP1 @GuitarPlayer @MikeWestEast one big difference, I can get so stoned I nearly black out, and then, 5 seconds later, I'm ok.  That's not true of Alcohol.  So, while smoking while moving is dangerous.  Studies show that regular smokers are not impaired even immediately after smoking.  I can understand how others, who don't smoke regularly would find this hard to believe.  But, it's true, supported by data and due to the fact that pot is stored in fat and so blood THC levels don't change that much in regular smokers.  The "brown outs" I enjoy, and I do rather enjoy them are from slight oxygen deprivation. 

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@DirtyP1 @GuitarPlayer @MikeWestEast I'm not talking about the equivalent of an open container which smoking weed in the car would be the same thing, I'm talking about what is CURRENTLY going on. Entrapment. 

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