Southeast Texas Rep. James White seeks to prioritize resources on marijuana
Rep. James White, an ardent Tea Party supporter, has come out in support of changing marijuana laws in Texas.
The 50-year-old Woodville Republican, whose District 19 encompasses Hardin, Polk, Tyler, Jasper and Newton counties, won a third two-year term in 2014 with no opposition at the polls.
He spoke with the Beaumont Enterprise, who asked him 8 questions about the 25 bills he has filed so far for the upcoming legislative session in Austin.
Ranging from gun rights, to reforming franchise taxes, and changing truancy laws, White also touched on the subject of marijuana.
In response to his statement “I think imprisoning children for truancy is probably an example where we are criminalizing poverty” he was asked the following question.
“Does your philosophy on the state criminalizing poverty extend to other areas of the criminal justice system, such as drug use?”
It was here where he dove right into the subject of cannabis.
When you look at our drug situation, let’s take small amounts of marijuana (2 ounces or less).
Right now it’s a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in up to 180 days in jail and a substantial fine. First I’m asking myself, ‘Is that really stopping anyone from being on marijuana?
Is that really an appropriate application of resources, especially when we have meth that is just devastating many communities and families throughout rural Texas and has such a substantial collateral damage?’
Then you have the issues of medicinal, the use of certain medicinal extracts from marijuana that have verifiable medicinal, positive impacts on various diseases and medical conditions. Definitely, I think we need to re-look at that and get these resources in the right places. Not necessarily legalization, but definitely decriminalization and targeting these criminal justice resources on synthetic drugs and very powerful dangerous drugs coming from south of the border.
Elected officials in Texas have been steadily moving towards the position that marijuana laws in Texas need to change. Rep. David Simpson recently talked about the need for government to not restrict access to a plant made by God.
Already filed for this session is a bill by Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso which would decrease the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana to a $100 fine.
A bill legalizing medical marijuana is also expected by March.