Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the Dallas Regional Chamber at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on March 16, 2015. He spoke on the 2015 State of the State. (Michael Ainsworth/The Dallas Morning News)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that lawmakers would not approve legislation that would legalize marijuana.
“I don’t think decriminalizing marijuana is going to happen this session,” Abbott said during a news conference. “I will see Texas continuing to lead the way of diverting away from activity that involves drug use and helping people lead more productive lives.”
Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, is sponsoring a bill that would not make it a crime to possess or use marijuana. Simpson says marijuana is “God’s plant” and has good uses, including medicinal purposes.
He’s one of many conservative leaders reconsidering how the state prosecutes marijuana crimes. Texas prisons are filled with inmates, mostly minorities, who have been convicted for possessing or selling small amounts of weed.
Though Abbott did not directly address his feelings about marijuana use, or if he supported decriminalizing it, he did acknowledge efforts to get people off the herb, rather than slamming them in jail.
Republicans have lauded pioneers like former state District Judge John Creuzot for starting effective drug diversion initiatives.
“Texas has really been a national leader with regard to drug diversion courts and drug diversion programs,” Abbott said. “Our goal is not to stockpile prisons with people who are arrested with minor possession issues, our goal is to help those who are found with minor possession take a pathway that is more productive than what jail provides.”
Abbott was in town Monday to give a State of the State address to the Dallas Regional Chamber. It was a makeup date. His speech schedule for earlier this month was wiped out by a snow storm.
After his remarks, Abbott told reporters that he hoped the Legislature would approve a border security bill.
“It is essential that Texas step up and do with the federal government has failed to do,” he said. “We have to secure our border.”
Abbott has a plan to add “500 more boots on the ground” to secure the border, as well as more Texas Rangers.
Some lawmakers are fearful that border security legislation on the House floor this week will …Read More