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Pot Legalization Bill Clears House Panel

State Rep. David Simpson's proposal to legalize marijuana in Texas moved closer to a full House after it was approved by a House committee Wednesday evening.

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*Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a second vote by the committee.

A proposal to legalize marijuana in Texas will head to the calendars committee, and possibly the House floor, after it was approved by a House committee Wednesday evening.

House Bill 2165 by state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, would allow possession and delivery of marijuana beginning in September 2015. It would still be illegal to sell the drug to minors. The measure passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on a 5-2 vote. 

“I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix,” Simpson wrote in a March op-ed in the The Texas Tribune. He said the plant should be “regulated like tomatoes, jalapenos or coffee.”

The measure initially passed on a 5-1 vote, catching at least one member of the committee by surprise: state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, who wasn’t present for the first vote. Leach asked Chairman Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, to take another vote so he could register a vote against the measure. Leach said Herrero knew that he was opposed to legalizing pot. A second vote was taken.

The other no vote came from state Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano.

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Courts Criminal justice Economy State government Texas Legislature