Texas is a pretty harsh place when it comes to marijuana policy. To make matters worse, Texas does not have a citizen initiative process. Most marijuana reform victories have come as a result of citizen initiatives. That means that the only way to reform marijuana laws in Texas is via the Texas Legislature. This session in Texas has been very active for marijuana reform, with a handful of bills being introduced to legalize medical and recreational marijuana.
Unfortunately, Texas’ Governor is trying to kill those efforts before they even get out of the Texas Legislature. Per Dallas News:
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that lawmakers would not approve legislation that would legalize marijuana.
“I don’t think decriminalizing marijuana is going to happen this session,” Abbott said during a news conference. “I will see Texas continuing to lead the way of diverting away from activity that involves drug use and helping people lead more productive lives.”
Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, is sponsoring a bill that would not make it a crime to possess or use marijuana. Simpson says marijuana is “God’s plant” and has good uses, including medicinal purposes.
He’s one of many conservative leaders reconsidering how the state prosecutes marijuana crimes. Texas prisons are filled with inmates, mostly minorities, who have been convicted for possessing or selling small amounts of weed.
Shame on Texas’ Governor. He can stick his head in the ground and pretend that marijuana use will just go away, but that will never happen. There are countless people in Texas (and beyond) that consume marijuana and lead very productive lives. Why should they be treated like criminals because they choose to medicate and/or unwind with a substance that is safer than alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals?