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The bill, HB 2165, calls for marijuana offences to be repealed.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.
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."
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