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Texas Rep. Stockman co-sponsors federal bill to respect state marijuana laws

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) co-sponsored a bill that would respect state marijuana laws.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) co-sponsored a bill that would respect state marijuana laws.

A bill gaining support in the US House of Representatives that would have federal agents respect state marijuana laws now has a co-sponsor from Texas.

Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican from Friendswood who was elected to office in 2012 for the newly created 36th District seat which Texas gained after the 2010 census, is the fourth Republican to co-sponsor the bill. In total, the legislation has 19 co-sponsors.

H.R.1523 which is entitled “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013” was submitted to the House back in April by California representative Dana Rohrabacher. It was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

If passed, people who are in compliance with their state laws concerning marijuana will not be subject to federal penalty under the Controlled Substances Act.

“This bipartisan bill represents a common-sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana laws,” Rohrabacher said in a prepared statement, “It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don’t want it to be criminal.”

With 21 states and Washington, D.C. already having approved medical marijuana, and two states already legal, along with the new poll which just came out showing 58% in support of legalization in Texas, it’s essentially a matter of when the federal government will reform its marijuana laws.

Stockman has shown a boldness by co-sponsoring such a measure during his first term in the new seat. Most Texas representatives refuse to even go near anything cannabis related, including an amendment from earlier this year that would have legalized hemp farming at the federal level.

While most Texas representatives opposed the amendment, Stockman was one of the 10 who did vote in favor of the amendment versus the 26 others who voted against. Ultimately the amendment passed but the bill it was attached to was defeated.

Stockman is largely a bona fide conservative and he has the record to prove it. His stance on gay marriage, immigration and pursuit of the Obama birth certificate issue readily demonstrates this. Oddly enough his political history when it comes to drug issues is scarce.

This piece of legislation and the amendment from earlier this year seem to be the first time he’s tackled these types of issues. Remarkably enough, as a conservative he has come out on the right side of this issue, which is very telling of where marijuana laws are headed in this country. The days of conservatives being largely against cannabis law reform are numbered.

Born in Michigan, Stockman moved to Texas in the 80’s where he attended San Jacinto College. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston–Clear Lake in 1990. Before trying his hand at politics he worked as an accountant in the computer sales and lab researcher division of IBM.

His first run for office came in 1990 when he ran for the US House of Representatives. He forced a runoff in the GOP primary but lost 61%-39%.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

Stockman ran unopposed in the primary for the 1992 election but was soundly defeated by Democratic U.S. Representative Jack Brooks. He would come back in 1994 to unseat the 42 year incumbent Brooks.

The 1996 general election for Texas’s 9th Congressional District was unusual. After the normal primaries had been held, the district boundaries of the 18th, 29th, and 30th districts were struck down as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander in Bush v. Vera, necessitating redistricting of the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 18th, 22nd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 28th, and 30th Districts. Because the redistricting was held after the normal primaries, those results were discarded and new votes for these districts were held as special elections; open to all candidates without a primary, and requiring a majority to win the seat outright.

These elections were held concurrently with the November general election for other elective positions. Stockman ranked first with 46%, but needed 50% to win outright. He faced Jefferson County assessor Nick Lampson, a member of the Democratic Party, in the runoff election. Lampson won the runoff election 53%-47%.

He would run for office again in 1998 for Texas Railroad Commission but lost in the primary by a margin of 53% to 47%.

In 2006, he attempted to run as an Independent candidate for Texas’s 22nd congressional district, Tom DeLay’s former seat, but he failed to gather enough signatures to be placed on the ballot. However, Stockman did register for the Special Election to fill out the remainder of the term for the district, one of five candidates. He came in third with 10.75% of the vote.

In 2012 he considered running for the seat being vacated by Ron Paul but instead decided to run for the newly created 36th Congressional District, which had been drawn in heavy favor of Republicans. After forcing a runoff election in the primary, Stockman won the nomination and then cruised to an easy win in the general election, defeating Democrat Max Owen Martin 71%-27%.

One of the more notable votes during his new term in office was to oppose the election of John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

Stockman currently sits on both the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Science, Space and Technology. For more extensive details on Stockman, you can visit his Wikipedia page here and his congressional office page here. Some issue stances can be found here.

Contact your Representative and let them know you want them to support this bill by visiting this link where you can send a pre-written letter via email.

Calls made to Stockman’s office for comment on why he co-sponsored the bill were answered by an aide who stated that he did not know why Stockman co-sponsored the bill, and a promise to return an answer had not arrived after 72 hours later. It would seem that Stockman has been very guarded as it appears he declined to respond to several surveys from political stance organizations last year.

By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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