Then, ValleyCentral.com (12/16) offered one of the first stories featuring local reactions as opposed to just covering the press conference. Of particular note were the grudgingly favorable comments from the Cameron County DA:
"To a certain extent, I agree with the proposal, but let me first make it perfectly clear that myself and this office, does not endorse the use of marijuana," Luis Saenz, the Cameron County District Attorney, said.
If the new bill is approved, it would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Saenz said the county has limited resources when young offenders go to jail for offense.
It's costing them thousands of dollars, and he said Moody's proposal is nothing new.
"In my office when they have a first time offender with less than a third of marijuana, typically we don't file the case," Saenz said.Grits predicts this will become a recurring theme: Law enforcement officials will oppose Moody's bill less vehemently than one might expect - and in some, surprising instances, support it - because, in practice, they don't have resources to pursue these cases, anyway. Even Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith, who dislikes Moody's bill, says his agency does "not vehemently enforce the marijuana laws." His deputies don't "go out a looking for that," he explained, "but if we run across it, we get it."
In another outside-the-press-conference reaction, Angelica Leicht at the Houston Press suggested that Moody doesn't go far enough, declaring that "Marijuana laws in Texas are pretty darn ridiculous in their current state, and perhaps it's time for a mass overhaul." She took aim in particular at "Three ridiculous pot laws in Texas" and, though attorneys may nitpick at her characterizations, the reaction does show that some Texans will find Moody's medicine to be weak tea, particularly after seeing what voters accomplished in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and (tentatively) D.C..
Others, of course, will inevitably weep and wail that, if Moody's bill passes, babies and old people will die, pot smoking hippies will entice schoolchildren into lives of vice, and many other terrible and highly improbable things will definitely, absolutely, immediately happen that should make us all very, very afraid. But judging from the tepid, initial response to Moody's bill, and the lack of vehement opposition to related bills in committee in years past, perhaps the reaction to Moody's civil-offense idea may be less strident than one might have guessed.
MORE: From Texas Monthly.