A US politician has said he wants to legalise cannabis – because God doesn't make mistakes.
David Simpson, a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, who is backed by the Tea Party, has introduced a bill calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis in America's second-largest state.
The bill, HB 2165, calls for marijuana offences to be repealed.
Simpson, who is backed by the Tea Party, believes the drug should be regulated in the same manner as coffee or other plants, such as tomatoes and jalapeños - and that his proposed legislation is inspired by his Christian faith.
"Current marijuana policies are not based on science or sound evidence, but rather misinformation and fear," Simpson told KETK in a statement.
"All that God created is good, including marijuana. God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix."
Cannabis remains illegal under US federal law. However, 23 states and the District of Columbia have already legalised medical marijuana, while the drug is now also legal for recreational use in Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington state.
Where cannabis is and isn't legal
Where cannabis is and isn't legal
Having been reclassified in 2009 from a Class C to a Class B drug, cannabis is now the most used illegal drug within the United Kingdom. The UK is also, however, the only country where Sativex – a prescribed drug that helps to combat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis and contains some ingredients that are also found in cannabis - is licensed as a treatment
2/12 North Korea
Although many people believe the consumption of cannabis in North Korea to be legal, the official law regarding the drug has never been made entirely clear whilst under Kim Jong Un’s regime. However, it is said that the North Korean leader himself has openly said that he does not consider cannabis to be a drug and his regime doesn’t take any issue with the consumption or sale of the drug
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In the Netherlands smoking cannabis is legal, given that it is smoked within the designated ‘smoking areas’ and you don’t possess more than 5 grams for personal use. It is also legal to sell the substance, but only in specified coffee shops
Although in some states of America cannabis has now been legalised, prior to the legalisation, police in the U.S. could make a marijuana-related arrest every 42 seconds, according to US News and World Report. The country also used to spend around $3.6 billion a year enforcing marijuana law, the American Civil Liberties Union notes
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Despite cannabis being officially illegal in Spain, the European hotspot has recently started to be branded, ‘the new Amsterdam’. This is because across Spain there are over 700 ‘Cannabis Clubs’ – these are considered legal venues to consume cannabis in because the consumption of the drug is in private, and not in public. These figures have risen dramatically in the last three years – in 2010 there were just 40 Cannabis Clubs in the whole of Spain. Recent figures also show that in Catalonia alone there are 165,000 registered members of cannabis clubs – this amounts to over 5 million euros (£4 million) in revenue each month
In December 2013, the House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill legalizing and regulating the production and sale of the drug. But the president has since postponed the legalization of cannabis until to 2015 and when it is made legal, it will be the authorities who will grow the cannabis that can be sold legally. Buyers must be 18 or older, residents of Uruguay, and must register with the authorities
Despite the fact that laws prohibiting the sale and misuse of cannabis exist and is considered a habit only entertained by lower-income groups, it is very rarely enforced. The occasional use of cannabis in community gatherings is broadly tolerated as a centuries old custom. The open use of cannabis by Sufis and Hindus as a means to induce euphoria has never been challenged by the state. Further, large tracts of cannabis grow unchecked in the wild
In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the use of all drugs, and started treating drug users as sick people, instead of criminals. However, you can still be arrested or assigned mandatory rehab if you are caught several times in possession of drugs
9/12 Puerto Rico
Although the use of cannabis is currently illegal, it is said that Puerto Rico are in the process of decriminalising it
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The US state became the first in the country to legalise marijuana in January 2014. In February 2015, President Obama recently said he expects to see more states "looking into" legalisation. However, it is illegally to grow more than six cannabis plants and to possess more than 28 grams of the drug
Oaksterdam in Oakland, California, is the world's only university dedicated to the study and cultivation of cannabis. If you are court in California with anything up to an ounce of cannabis, you will be fine $100, but you will not get a criminal record, nor will you have to appear in court
Cannabis is grown in the wild and has been used to treat conditions such as gout and malaria. But, officially the substance is illegal to consume, possess and sell
Last month, the new US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy, suggested that America's drug policy should be informed by science.
"We have some preliminary data that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful," he said.
And while Simpson drew on religion to support his argument, he also highlighted what he views as the health benefits of marijuana.
"Let's allow the plant to be utilized for good - helping people with seizures, treating warriors with PTSD, producing fibre and other products - or simply for beauty and enjoyment," he said.
"Government prohibition should be for violent actions that harm your neighbour — not of the possession, cultivation, and responsible use of plants."
However, it seems unlikely that the bill will be approved in its current form.
Gary Hale, a former intelligence chief in the Drug Intelligence Agency's Houston division and a drug policy scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston, told the Texas Chronicle: "A blanket decriminalization of marijuana and classification as a vegetable is not going to happen.
"Overall legalization will happen but in my opinion it will happen in incremental baby steps."Reuse content