AUSTIN -- State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) filed House Bill 2165 to strike all references to marijuana offenses from the Texas statutes on Monday. This represents a comprehensive repeal of marijuana prohibition in Texas, according to Simpson.
Simpson released the following statement regarding his proposed bill:
“We can’t fix all of the past wrongs caused by prohibition, but at least we can stop perpetuating them.”
This is perhaps the first bill of its kind in the nation that proposes to simply undo prohibition and avoid the big government approach taken in other states that basically re-regulate the plant.
“I am proposing that this plant be regulated like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee.” Rep. Simpson continued, “Current marijuana policies are not based on science or sound evidence, but rather misinformation and fear. All that God created is good, including marijuana. God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix. Let’s allow the plant to be utilized for good—helping people with seizures, treating warriors with PTSD, producing fiber and other products—or simply for beauty and enjoyment. Government prohibition should be for violent actions that harm your neighbor—not of the possession, cultivation, and responsible use of plants.”
In 1914 during the height of Pancho Villa’s revolution in Mexico, many refugees and young Mexican men seeking work began moving across the Texas border. In response, the City of El Paso passed the first ordinance in the nation outlawing use of the marijuana plant as a means to address what were perceived as foreign and rowdy young men disturbing the peace.
A few years later the Texas Legislature passed its first marijuana prohibition law with little fanfare besides an alleged racist statement on the senate floor about Mexicans. The American national story of prohibition is not much different. Many scholars believe that these laws were originally motivated by racism and perhaps some industries seeking to control competition from hemp in commodities markets.
The Simpson bill is poised to reframe the current marijuana discussion by bringing it back to the basics: limited civil government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.