By Rebecca McCray | Takepart.com
May 7, 2015 4:08 PM
Big hair. Big barbecue. Big sky. Big guns. As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas—but the state hardly has an outsize reputation for progressive marijuana reform.
If this legislative session is any indication, that could be changing. While previous sessions have seen one or two marijuana-related bills introduced, 11 bills taking on various facets of marijuana prohibition were introduced this session—including an effort to decriminalize—and on Wednesday the most comprehensive among them survived the Texas House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
Introduced and backed by Rep. David Simpson of Longview—a Republican, Christian legislator who is supported by the Tea Party—H.B. 2165 would legalize marijuana possession for both recreational and medicinal use and create a system for the legal sale of the plant. The bill will now move to a full floor debate and vote in the House.
While marijuana legalization may bring to mind more liberal states such as Colorado and Washington or a dorm room full of hippies, the movement in Texas—and elsewhere in the country—is increasingly backed by conservatives.
“From a fiscal perspective, most Republicans already think marijuana use is not a major risk to public safety,” Zoe Russell, assistant director of Texas-based Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, told TakePart. “That message resonates across the board.”