Houston Chronicle: Texas House Panel Approves Legalization Of Marijuana

In a surprise move that supporters called a historic victory, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would make it legal to buy and sell marijuana in the state.

Two Republicans joined with the panel’s three Democrats in support, giving House Bill 2165 a 5-2 panel victory, writes chron.com.

The bill would make Texas the fifth state in America to OK pot for recreational purposes.

According to chron.com, though, the proposal has virtually no chance of clearing other hurdles on the path to becoming law in this year’s legislative session.

However, the move came just two days after the same panel voted 4-2 in favor of a bill to decriminalize marijuana. That was the first time such a proposal had made it out of a Texas legislative committee, according to chron.com. Initially, the bill failed by a 3-2 vote in committee, but it was brought back up and passed with a 4-2 vote.

That bill that would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was revived and voted out of a Texas House committee, writes sacurrent.com.

The bill is House Bill 507, and it would eliminate jail time and criminal records. Instead, people caught with an ounce or less of pot would pay a fine.

The next step is a vote in the House of Representatives.

The San Antonio chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is already calling San Antonio marijuana advocates to action.

Today the group is working with the Marijuana Policy Project to collect signatures asking Rep. Lyle Larson to schedule the decriminalization proposal for a vote.

There is a companion bill in the Texas Senate, which is still in committee.

(Updated article)

http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Texas-House-committee-approves-full-legalization-6247225.php

Washington D.C. Legalizes Marijuana, House Republicans Promise A Fight

The new mayor of the nation’s capital was hoping to get along with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Instead, they’ve threatened her with prison and she has accused them of acting like bullies in a showdown over legal pot that could end up costing District of Columbia residents.

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser defied threats from Congress by implementing a voter-approved marijuana initiative on Thursday, making the city the only place east of the Mississippi River where people can legally grow and share marijuana in private.

More here:

http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/399185/washington-d-c-legalizes-marijuana-republicans-vow-fight

DC Legalizing Pot, Ignores Warnings From House: CNN

Washington D.C. to defy GOP, implement marijauna law

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser says she’ll defy congressional Republicans and implement D.C.’s new local law allowing its residents to smoke marijuana starting on Thursday, according to CNN.

In implementing the new pot laws, Bowser is rebuffing two influential House Republicans who’d warned her that she’d be breaking federal law — and risking retribution.

Muriel Bowser

“We would encourage the Congress to not be so concerned with overturning what seven out of 10 voters said should be the law in the District of Columbia,” Bowser said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called the new legal framework “depenalization” since sales were still barred, and said it was unlikely to unseat a thriving black market, according to Yahoo News.

Bowser and Washington police are implementing a measure approved by D.C. voters in November allowing Washington residents to possess up to two ounces of pot.  The allowance applies only to those over 21. In addition, D.C. residents could grow up to six pot plants in their own yards. Buying and selling pot would still be illegal, as would smoking in public places.  People could transfer up to one ounce to another person — just not for money.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in a letter Tuesday that the city would be violating federal laws if it went forward with Bowser’s plan to implement the new measure Thursday.

“We strongly suggest you reconsider your position,” the two wrote to Bowser in a thinly-veiled suggestion that there would be consequences for ignoring them.  They pointed to House rules that give Chaffetz’s panel broad investigative authority.

Bowser brushed Chaffetz and Meadows back on Wednesday, saying they should worry about bigger problems — like funding the Department of Homeland Security, which is set to shut down at week’s end if Congress doesn’t act.

She took a shot at Republicans who have suggested she could wind up in jail for breaking federal law — and claimed that Congress has no powers to prosecute her.

More:

http://news.yahoo.com/legal-pot-arrives-district-columbia-amid-wrangle-congress-060848259.html