A Texas state lawmaker’s bill to effectively end the prohibition on marijuana passed a House committee on Wednesday evening, clearing the way for a vote by the full Texas House of Representatives.
House Bill 2165, introduced by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), would legalize the possession and delivery of marijuana as early as September 2015. The measure passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee by a vote of 5-to-2 after it was amended to prohibit the sale of marijuana to minors.
Reps. Jeff Leach and Matt Shaheen, both Republicans from the North Texas city of Plano, voted against Simpson’s bill.
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Simpson’s argument in favor of marijuana legalization is grounded in both religion and constitutional principles.
“I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix,” Simpson, a fiercely conservative legislator with Tea Party backing, wrote in a March op-ed for the Texas Tribune.
America’s war on drugs has accomplished the opposite of what the government intended, Simpson argued, “spurring a proliferation of ever-changing exotic designer drugs and a disregard for constitutional protects in the name of eliminating drugs at any cost.”
Two days prior to the vote on H.B. 2165, the same House committee voted 4-to-2 to advance a bill to decriminalize marijuana but not legalize its growth or sale.
Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.