Contributed by The Tenth Amendment Center
A bill introduced in Texas would remove all penalties for the possession and distribution of marijuana from the state criminal code, effectively nullifying 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 nullify 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.
Describing his justification for filing HB2165, Rep. Simpson talked about the futility of federal drug policy. He said, “Our current “war on drugs” policies… [have spurred] a proliferation of ever-changing exotic designer drugs and a disregard for constitutional protections in the name of eliminating drugs at any cost. Just think of no-knock warrants, stop-and-frisk, civil asset forfeiture, and billionaire drug lords.”
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.
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.
Without the state and local governments at their disposal, the federal government is a paper tiger on marijuana and every other issue. HB2165 would unleash the marijuana crop in the state of Texas, and the feds simply do not have the enforcement power to do anything but watch it happen!
Bills like HB2165 are sweeping the nation, and for good reason. Reforms like these can affect federal policy while circumventing the Washington D.C. power structure completely. The best thing about measures such as HB2165 is that they are completely lawful and Constitutional, and there is little if anything the feds can do to stop them!
Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. However, nearly two-dozen states have taken steps to put the well-being of their citizens above the so-called federal supremacy by legalizing marijuana to varying degrees anyway.
“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully effectively reject unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.
HB2165 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.
These are the types of state-level resistance measures that caused the federal government to finally pull the plug on alcohol prohibition. HB2165 builds off those successes in the modern age, and can lead the way to forcing the federal government to adopt sensible marijuana policies.
The momentum is on our side, but Texas cannot legalize it without your help. This effort needs your support to achieve victory. The bill has not received a committee assignment at the present time.
If you live in Texas, support this bill by following all the action steps at THIS LINK.
All Other States, take action to push back against the federal drug war at this link.
TLB recommends you visit Tenth Amendment Center for more great articles and pertinent information.