Ten bills sit in the Texas state legislature having to do with decriminalizing medicinal or recreational marijuana waiting to be voted on, two in the state Senate and eight in the House.
Supporters of such bills such as Jake Syma of Hub City NORML and Kenny Ketner of the state's Democratic Party believe decriminalization of marijuana use will improve the criminal justice system with regard to drug laws.
23 other states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal and/or recreational marijuana use. Syma notes that we "Still haven't seen any reports on rioting, looting, society hasn't collapsed in the great state of Alaska and hasn't collapsed in any of the other states that have experimented with legalization or decriminalization or medical marijuana."
Alaska currently has not prohibited possessing up to 4oz of marijuana in a residence or for growing up to 25 plants.
Ketner expressed hope mixed with restraint, "[Republicans] don't want to change their stance on marijuana laws in spite of evidence that it's discriminatory and abusive and so on, so I don't know if they'll change their ways."
Help is Needed from the Right to Pass
There is hope that though Texas' more conservative legislature will fight most of the ten bills, one may garner enough attention and support. A bill regarding industrial hemp looks promising, given right-leaning Kentucky already passed a similar bill. Industrial hemp is not intended for smoking but is used to make paper, textiles, and biodegradable plastics, among other products.
Syma remains optimistic the logic of his position will be clear, saying "I don't see any good reason why the farmers if West Texas shouldn't be raking in millions of dollars off of this cash crop. I hope Texas and Texans are ready to embrace fiscally conservative solutions like that."
Ironically enough, Longview Tea Party Representative, David Simpson, was the one to file the latest bills, remarking, "God didn't make a mistake with marijuana that the government needs to fix."
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