The Legislative Push to Make Texas More Marijuana-Friendly is Officially Dead

Categories: Legislature, Weed

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Marijuana advocates were abuzz last month -- and by "abuzz" we mean excited, of course -- when a bill to reduce penalties for marijuana possession was passed out the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The bill had been watered down to apply only to people younger than 21, but the Texas chapter of NORML, the national pot-legalization organization, still called it an "amazing step for Texas."

Also encouraging was progress on a medical marijuana bill that would make medical need a valid defense in pot possession cases. The measure, some version of which has been introduced in the past several sessions, got a hearing for the first time ever. As The Joint Blog declared, "The measure isn't perfect, but is a huge step forward for Texas."

Both those bills, the only pro-marijuana legislation to get any sort of traction this session, are now officially dead, which isn't to say that marijuana activists are admitting defeat.

"We have always been well aware of the fact that neither of these bills had much of a chance with the current makeup of the Legislature," Josh Schimberg, Texas NORML's executive director, wrote in an email. "However we have seen some progress resulting from our concerted effort to get information to all of the legislators. The progress, albeit small, included much more media coverage, getting new co-sponsors for the bills, getting a hearing for HB 594, and seeing HB 184 voted out of committee and into the Calendars Committee.

"Obviously, this issue isn't one that will be changing quickly in Texas, but our organization intends to keep up the pressure both between sessions and in the lead up to the 2015 session."

Who knows? By then, maybe the bills will actually make it to the House or Senate floor. For something to actually pass, however, the Legislature will have to have a lot fewer Republicans, or a lot more Republicans who smoke pot.

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26 comments
leofandersoniii
leofandersoniii

I need some help out there. Some of you have thousands of friends and it will help tremendously if you will share this on your timeline and ask them to do the same. There are those of us that want to live in a free country want to get it back to that. (right now we're in a police state, There are  85 million armed americans in a country with only 2 million pigs so it's probably not too late to change). Anyway, here in Texas there was a bill which would have allowed patients de Facto immunity from prosecution for using medical marijuana with a doctors recommendation (HB 594). House speaker Lois Kolkhortz held it up in session until it died. She claimed it was because "there were not the votes to get it passed." I don't care if there were not the votes. I want to know where each rep stands on the issue. Regardless, I have information that indicates Lois Kolkhortz has a money trail leading to big Pharma. If this is true then she needs to be exposed and impeached. Thanks for sharing this on your facebook timeline

smittjak
smittjak

legalize everything about marijuana

smittjak
smittjak

marijuana is safer than alcohol

cubscoutfisteree
cubscoutfisteree

I'm tiered of this backward ass state. The stupidity that comes out of this place makes me ashamed to even say I live here

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Why not start at home. Direct officers to avoid marijuana arrests or tickets for less than an ounce or two, and just issue tickets for more "serious" offenses, like public smoking.

heylo
heylo

"For something to actually pass, however, the Legislature will have to have a lot fewer Republicans, or a lot more Republicans who smoke pot." 

If we can get "700 Club" televangelist Pat Robertson on board with marijuana legalization, there's no excuse for being cynical about other Republicans.   And if you don't want Texas to be the last to legalize marijuana, you have to get out of the small liberal fortress and find some common ground with Republican voters on this issue.  Republicans control things big time in this state and like another poster said Dems in this state are too afraid of looking pro-pot.  It is what it is.

curious
curious

so...tell me - what politicians had the nerve to try to "give the people what they want"?  Can we name names here?  The fact that the bill didn't even make it out of the committee shows that the vast majority of em' couldn't care less about the matter - even though marijuana is totally legal in other states and some countries...just curious...which ones of them "took the bull by the horns" at the beginning - as if there is such a thing...

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

These lawmakers need to quit bogarting and pass it.



Thank you very much.

Sheri LeNoir
Sheri LeNoir

what happened to the wild west? it's so ordinary here.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

Legalize it.  Regulate it. Tax it.  It could be as big of a revenue stream as the beverage gross receipts tax.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The republicans have a stake in keeping the stuff illegal.  They'd suffer a huge loss of income from the Mafia.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

"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 non-violent offense than we spend to educate our children."

Thought them Republicans were supposed to be fiscally responsible.

Brigette Anderson
Brigette Anderson

Not dead... just delayed. This is the same sort of "working the system" that small breweries have faced in TX. They just need to keep plugging because public sentiment on this sort of thing is changing...

Matthew J Powers
Matthew J Powers

With all the massive cuts to schools, I just assumed the whole state was high. guess not.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Isnt this a case of, "well at least they will discuss it now"  Kind of like gambling, its inevitable but you have to start somewhere.  

Joe Downey
Joe Downey

It will be a fight Texas or Utah as the last state that becomes POT friendly

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference 

It's no wonder then that the beverage industry lobbyists are arm-in-arm with the pharmaceutical company lobbyists as some of the biggest supporters of anti-pot politicians.

That's an awful  lotta' campaign cash to fight against.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Sotiredofitall You've got a better chance of Republicans passing it than Democrats.  Republicans represent the rural areas where the big grows will be, and the cigarette companies that are primed to jump on this market.

The real opposition comes from Democrats, who are afraid of being portrayed as soft on crime and pro-dope.  The vast majority of prosecutions come from urban areas, where Democrats control the entire structure, top to bottom.  That isn't a coincidence.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @Sotiredofitall 

Hmmm. I think it is kind of a coincidence. Not to say that you are wrong about how Dem's want to appear.

I think that has more to do with the mounds of cash that local law enforcement agencies scoop up whenever there is a marijuana bust. That's not small potatoes and they love their new SUV's and guns that this cash continues to finance. To law enforcement agencies, marijuana is the gift that keeps on giving. Not to mention the fact that it is a handy legal lever to be used to keep certain segments of the population a bit more "arrestable", as it were.

Any pol that starts to mess with "War On Drugs" issues must be prepared to oppose several very powerful lobbies, not the least of which is the DEA and their local law enforcement counterparts.

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