A bill introduced in Texas would remove all penalties for the possession and distribution of marijuana from the state criminal code, effectively thwarting the federal prohibition on the same.
Introduced by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), House Bill 2165 (HB2165) repeals current provisions under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the Health and Safety Code, and Tax Code to end the state-level prohibition on marijuana. Since FBI statistics show that approximately 99 of 100 arrests for marijuana are done under state and not federal law, passage would effectively block federal attempts to keep the plant illegal.
“I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix,” Rep. Simpson said in a TribTalk op/ed that was published shortly after his legislation was introduced.
HB2165 differs from other marijuana-related reforms that are popping up in state legislatures across the country. Rather than setting up a framework for decriminalization or a program to tax and regulate the substance, HB2165 simply removes every mention of marijuana from the criminal code. If the bill passes, the state of Texas will look at marijuana similar to the way it does lettuce, tomatoes, or any other benign plant being consumed and distributed lawfully in the marketplace.
The bill takes action against the federal war on marijuana in a similar manner as the states fought back against alcohol prohibition a century ago. According to the comprehensive book Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History, 28 states stopped funding prohibition enforcement by 1928, and local police were “sporadic in their enforcement efforts.” Some states even went as far as enacting laws to ban law enforcement from enforcing prohibition.
This would be a very effective means of resisting federal marijuana policy because Washington D.C. doesn’t have the ability to enforce its marijuana laws without assistance. In Colorado, the feds tried to crack down on marijuana after that state voted to legalize. They hit about 12 shops out of 400 in the Denver area, impacting about 3 percent of the medical marijuana business in one city. In other words, it was a drop in the bucket that did nothing to even slow down the marijuana industry in Colorado.
The passage of HB2165 would be a huge step in the right direction, and send a powerful statement. A state like Texas passing a legalization bill could be a real game changer. It could start the trend of more red states embracing the cannabis revolution, which would be cataclysmic blow to the federal drug warriors.
Activists should embrace this golden opportunity to enact a more sensible marijuana policy in the Lone Star State. Full-blown legalization is on its way throughout the entire country whether the prohibitionists like it or not. Measures like HB2165 can help grease the wheels on our way toward that inevitable goal!
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
If you live in the state of Texas, take steps to support this important bill HERE.
If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to HB2165 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.