Texas nearly legalizes marijuana

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Analysis of 20 years of research on regular marijuana use found alarming negative mental and physical health effects, especially for teens. | CanStockPhotos.com

AUSTIN, Texas (Christian Examiner) -- Texas bills legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing possession of it passed state House committees earlier this month, but will not become law in the Lone Star State.

House Calendar Committee Chair Todd Hunter (R- Corpus Christi) reportedly refused to schedule the two bills before the deadline for action, The Daily Chronic reported.

The bill ending marijuana's prohibition passed the Criminal jurisprudence Committee 5 to 2, May 7. Another bill intended to lessen the penalties for carrying the drug passed 4 to 2 in the same committee May 5 after an initial rejection the week before.

Had the bill to reduce penalties passed the House, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana would no longer produce a criminal record, there would be no threat of arrest, and jail time would be replaced by a civil fine up to $250.

Additionally, the law to end prohibition would have allowed the plant to be grown like a crop. The measure upheld a ban on minors' consumption of the drug except with parental supervision.

The failure of these two bills leaves only one more proposed piece of pot legislation for Texas lawmakers to consider—legalizing medical marijuana use. However, this bill faces likely failure because wording requires doctors to "prescribe" the drug, which is not allowed under federal law. In states that allow medical marijuana programs, doctors "recommend" medical marijuana to patients or "certify" patients to enroll in their states' programs—wording and actions that are federally legal and protected under the First Amendment.

The Texas legislative session ends June 1.