If Freakin' Oklahoma Can Go Soft on Pot, Surely Texas Can, Too

Categories: Buzz

Oklahoma.jpg
Chicks and ducks and potheads better scurry.
Every week, managing editor Patrick Williams disappears into his office and reemerges a cranky, nicotine-addicted, third-person-referring superhero we like to call Buzz.

The message that rolled into our inbox earlier this week was upbeat. A "juggernaut of marijuana bills" is rolling its way through legislatures across the nation, the Marijuana Policy Project proclaimed. Medical marijuana bills were looking hopeful from Illinois to New Hampshire.

"Our broader reform efforts are advancing in Rhode Island and Maine, where we worked with legislators to bring forward bills that would regulate marijuana like alcohol -- our ultimate goal," wrote Karen O'Keefe, MPP's director of state policies. "We also had a big week in Maryland, where a decriminalization bill was approved in committee, and a separate bill to end marijuana prohibition entirely has now been scheduled for a hearing."

Meanwhile, back in Texas ... well, shit.

On Tuesday, Texas legislators heard testimony on a bill from Representative Harold Dutton that would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by no more than a $500 fine. That wouldn't make us Colorado -- oh, happy, happy Colorado -- but it'd be a step forward from the current Class B misdemeanor, which carries up to a $2,000 fine and six months in jail. This is the second go-around for Dutton's bill. It didn't make out of committee last session, and Tuesday's hearing was just to "lay the bill out," a staffer at his office said.

Television station KVUE in Austin was at the hearing, where they picked up this grim tidbit:

"I found out that we spend $10,000 to prosecute on cannabis charge, yet for a year of schooling for one student the state of Texas spends $8,498," said Austin parent Jaclyn Finkel. "So we actually spend more to put someone in jail for a nonviolent offense than we spend to educate our children."

In Texas we don't mind if our children are stupid. We just don't want them to feel good about it.

While Dutton's bill was getting laid out -- what an unfortunate-yet-accurate way to put it -- another measure, which would provide an "affirmative defense" (read: a legal out) for sick people who use weed under a doctor's recommendation, is making its sixth appearance before the House, is awaiting its own laying out.

That's right: Sixth. Anyone feel lucky? Is there reason for hope this session?

"Ultimately, there is a debate taking place," says MPP spokesman Mason Tvert, "and the more that debate takes place, the more people support taking a sensible approach."

Yeah, Mason? We've also been talking about flying cars for a while now, too, and Buzz still doing his hot-boxing at sea level.

Still, Tvert did have something to cheer us up. (And no, dammit, it wasn't a baked good.) Late last month, he told us, a committee in the Oklahoma House voted unanimously to reduce punishment in a state where a second offense for simple possession gets you two to 10 years in prison. (The corn may be as high as an elephant's eye in the Sooner State, but don't you even think about it, pardner.)

Nevertheless, you should take heart, Texas. If Oklahoma can take a tottering step toward the 21st century, maybe the Lone Star state can pass a sensible marijuana reform in, say, the next seven sessions. And if that doesn't cheer you up, then remember those five little words that always make Texans proud: "At least we're not Okies."

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27 comments
Shea H Amorasi
Shea H Amorasi

I say Legalize it, Tax it and create an online Data Base of those using it. Why be so Secretive about ... Eh ? I'm all for posting Users Names online ! ~

randi.trollop
randi.trollop

Now that Big Tobacco is pro-marijuana and sees it as their opportunity to become filthy rich again you can bet that Federal and State law will eventually reflect what the tobacco lobbyists want.

Alexander Winchester
Alexander Winchester

really this state keeps putting Perry back in office what makes you think that it has enough voters that are logical or reasonable.

Americano
Americano

If Oklahoma jumps off a cliff are we obligated to follow?

director21
director21

Regardless of anything else that does or does not happen here, those "five little words" will always ring true and loud!

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

somebody post a link to our douchebags...oops...legislators to make it easy for us unlliterates to bitch them out about this.

Melanie Hanna
Melanie Hanna

I live in Dallas.. got caught with less then a joints worth.. the fine $420. Seriously? it's ridiculous! But, the man made meds they want me on are less expensive and legal. Despite what they do to my body. Whatever... Texas

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

We can't even buy alcohol on Sundays yet...

CallMeGomer
CallMeGomer

The mullahs in Iran will bless public displays of masturbation before Texas legalizes pot.

observist
observist topcommenter

... when I take you out in my surrey and we binge on pot

Willie Carmack
Willie Carmack

let it be let it be Texas need's it so come on with it legalize

Mark Gill
Mark Gill

It needs to be legal medicinally everywhere

Esteban Butcho Diaz
Esteban Butcho Diaz

^ That's what I was thinking. Since when has Texas ever considered Oklahoma's decisions as an influence lol.

Shane Thomas
Shane Thomas

Yeah, because God knows we want to be more like Oklahoma.......

David Sherrill
David Sherrill

I went soft on marijuana once. It was embarrassing.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Until all the bible beaters are raptured nekkid up to hevven, ain't nothin' gonna change.


Maybe we could get a truck full of inflatable sex dolls filled with helium...

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Melanie Hanna 

$420 fine? *bahahahahahahahahahahhaha*

Who says the cops don't have a sense of humor about weed?

randi.trollop
randi.trollop

@CallMeGomer Wrong.  The money coming from Big Tobacco will gently persuade Ricky Bobby and company.  It's coming.

gabbahey
gabbahey

@Montemalone Haha, just like in "Six Feet Under"! Although it probably wouldn't hurt if we got the fundies nice and baked first...

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