How Texas Became A New Front In Marijuana Legalization Fight

TEXAS:  Shortly before 10 p.m. on a Wednesday in April, Tammy Castro was describing the heartbreaking story of her son’s losing battle against drug abuse. The crowded Capitol conference room, packed with marijuana-rights activists, fell silent.

Marijuana started her son on a downward spiral to his death, Castro said, holding back tears. “If you pass this bill, you are sentencing more youth to certain death.”

Castro was testifying against House Bill 2165, which would completely legalize adult use of marijuana in Texas. States like Colorado and Washington that have legalized recreational pot have created detailed structures for regulating the plant. Simpson’s approach was far more radical; he would strike any mention of marijuana from state law—no limits on the amount you could possess, no dispensaries, no state regulation.

The measure got further through the legislative process than many thought possible, progress that proponents say is a harbinger of some kind of legal pot in the not-so-distant future. With some Republicans reconsidering their opposition to marijuana, the Texas Legislature became an unexpected front in the fight to legalize it.