Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Simpson: Christians would regulate pot like tomatoes, jalapeños

Not only should Texas legalize pot, says a state legislator from East Texas, it should forego any special tax-and-regulate regimen and simply allow pot to be sold and taxed like any other agricultural commodity.

Longview state Rep. David Simpson has filed HB 2165 which would eliminate all state-level legal prohibitions against marijuana, leaving the plant regulated in Texas similar to "tomatoes, jalapeños, and coffee," reported KETK-TV. Simpson authored a column yesterday announcing the bill on TribTalk titled "The Christian Case for Marijuana Reform." That remarkable item concluded:
Should we be concerned for our friends and neighbors who abuse a substance or activity? Yes, we should help them through sincere and voluntary engagement, but not with force and violence.

Is there a place for prohibition? Yes, a prohibition of aggression (Romans 13). Our laws should prohibit and penalize violent acts. This is the jurisdiction of the magistrates under the new covenant — harm to one’s neighbor.

Civil government should value everything God made and leave people alone unless they meddle with their neighbor.
This ain't your Daddy's Republican Party, folks. The comments reacting to coverage of the bill from Breitbart News demonstrate some of the ideological fault lines within the party over libertarian causes like this one.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the majority of Colorado continues to support marijuana legalization 58%-38%.
Source: Quinnipiac University, Feb 24, 2015.

And research continues to pile on that shows marijuana, while not completely safe, is still less deadly than other drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.

New study: Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say

"Weed — roughly 114 times less deadly than booze, according to the authors, who ran calculations that compared lethal doses of a given substance with the amount that a typical person uses. Marijuana is also the only drug studied that posed a low mortality risk to its users.

Article on study: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/23/marijuana-may-be-even-safer-than-previously-thought-researchers-say/

Full Study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311234/

Anonymous said...

Each one of us has to make thousands of choices about how we will live our own life, but we are only granted one life to live.

Some of us are deeply disturbed when other people make different choices than we made because it forces us to reconsider the wisdom of our own choice.

If the people who made different choices seem happy, does that mean that we made poor choices?

If we made poor choices due to a deeply held ideology, does that indicate a flaw in the ideology?

That makes us feel icky. Stop liking what I don't like! There should be a law! If there are enough people or campaign dollars that agree then maybe there will be a law.

Anonymous said...

How in the world does that idiot keep getting elected?

Anonymous said...

Most Texans favor legalizing marijuana, but they want age limits and taxes. I'm glad Simpson acknowledges that marijuana prohibition is a failure and this bill certainly will generate conversation, but at some point we need a policy that most Texans and most lawmakers can support.

Anonymous said...

I support an age limit too, 12:31, but why should it be taxed beyond a sales tax, property taxes on the farms and storefronts, etc.?

Anonymous said...

"I support an age limit too, 12:31, but why should it be taxed beyond a sales tax, property taxes on the farms and storefronts, etc.?"

The argument for higher excise taxes on products such as alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco is it discourages over consumption. Just as the top 10% of alcohol users consume more than 50% of all alcohol in the United States, stats from Colorado show the same thing applies to marijuana users.

High excise taxes discourage abusers from over consuming. Higher tobacco taxes are highly correlated with lower tobacco usage rates. Alcohol is taxed at a very low rate, so no one knows what would happen if we raised alcohol taxes by double or triple, but most health economists believe it would be very beneficial.

The tricky part is you don't want the tax too high because then a black market will form, funding criminals.

The Comedian said...

If marijuana is legalized, the state would lose one-half of its prison and jail population. The "Miracle Economy" of Texas would collapse without the prison-industrial-drug war complex. Just look at all those lost jobs in Willacy County after the prison riot and destruction of the facility there.

Ghost of Peter Tosh said...

@1:39, if you read Simpson's column, he's not interested in a lot of government social engineering on this.

The idea's a nonstarter without an age restriction. Beyond that, the higher the taxes, the greater the chance the legal product is not competitive with the illegal product, which already has distribution channels, economies of scale, etc.. The goal is to kill the black market.

Also arguing for low taxes: Marijuana is safer than alcohol so there are health and safety benefits to a substitution effect.

Anonymous said...

Ghost, I was giving reasons why one might argue it should be taxed more. I also want to point out that a 2013 PPP poll showed 58% of Texans support the Colorado model of legalization, taxation, and regulation.

I am fine with Simpson's proposal coupled with a 21 year old age limit, but I am just thinking about what is more politically feasible.

Joorie Doodie said...

We're all wasting keystrokes here because this will never pass: too many special interests invested in keeping jail populations and the size of government up.

But it's an interesting intellectual exercise. What would change in terms of local taxes, economies, and communities if we no longer locked up people for things like illicit drugs? What would we do with all of the empty jail space?

We'd be left with a $28 million jail expansion boondoggle in Smith County that would have county commissioners wringing their hands over for a decade! We'd have a DA's office that would have to downsize from reduction in "civil forfeitures."

In short, a mini-revolution.

Anonymous said...

Anytime the government attempts to control and fiddle with supply and demand there will be an opportunity for profit on the black market. This applies whether something is made illegal or taxed. At some point people need to recognize this and quit allowing the government to mess with supply and demand. The drug problem will never be solved on the supply side, the root cause is people want to take drugs.
When I first came to Texas many Texans would lead off a sentence, "If you were like me...". Where I come from and in civilized parts of the world, we explore our differences, discuss them and understand that we can agree to disagree. I don't agree with some of my closest friends on some issues, that's what makes it fun and interesting.

Anonymous said...

Actually you're the idiot. Also if you haven't looked around, the nation recently marijuana is getting legalized in more states each year. It will only be a matter of time before it happens here in the greatest state of all, Texas!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone run the numbers on the alternate application of funds both public and private of the effects of 'sin' taxes for MJ and the miss use of funds consumed by the prison for fun and profit economy?

Anonymous said...

Colorado has created a whole new tourist industry by legalizing marijuana...creative entrepreneurs in neighboring states provide "bus trips" to the markets there, much like the casino busses we see heading down the interstates to Oklahoma and Shreveport. You can even get a "tour' of a grow farm. If your license is out of state, they do limit the amount you can purchase in an effort to prevent transporting across state lines, not to mention that the law enforcement personnel in the border counties of their (Colorado's) neighboring states have something to watch other than speeding travelers. I'm sure this generates some revenue for the poorer rural counties.
No doubt there will be a plethora of new businesses registering with the Secretary of State once the trust fund babies graduate with their MBA's and offer a business plan to greedy investors looking for even more gold in the coffers...no matter what the religious influence or idealogical thoughts might be...they will find a way to justify the change if money is involved!