Compassionate Conservatism: Texas Republican, God Both Back Marijuana Legalization
By Chris Roberts |
If God made marijuana, He — or she — didn’t do so in order for us to make it illegal.
True conservative values of self-determination and self-responsibility are alive in Texas, where a Christian lawmaker made a powerful statement this week: marijuana prohibition isn’t what God intended.
“I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix,” wrote Texas state Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), in an op-ed published this week.
Simpson is also putting legislation where his Bible is: the self-avowed Christian introduced a marijuana legalization initiative into the Texas legislature, a move that made waves coast-to-coast.
Dyed-in-the-wool conservatives backing something as liberal as legal weed has real precedent: retired U.S. Rep. Ron Paul introduced cannabis legalization efforts in Congress almost every session. And if one is to take Ayn Randian principles of self-dominion seriously, banning a plant is ludicrous.
That’s not entirely where Simpson’s at. In comments to reporters this week explaining the impetus behind his bill — which simply repeals all state statutes banning, criminalizing and otherwise getting in the way of adults’ access to cannabis — he took the God route.
“Everything that God made is good, even marijuana,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “The conservative thought is that government doesn’t need to fix something that God made good.”
Simpson wants to see marijuana regulated in Texas the same way the state regulates “tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee,” he told the newspaper.
Pundits said that while Simpson’s legalization bill is a first — legalizers have tried the tax angle and the social justice angle, but not the God angle — it has little chance of advancing or earning the imprimatur of the red state’s governor.
Still, it has some fans, including 85-year old Ann Lee of Houston.
“Prohibition goes against the fundamental principles of the Republican party. Prohibition is against the fundamental principle of freedom,” said Lee, who regularly travels to Washington to advocate for an end to the drug war “When you look at the facts, it’s not conservative to support prohibition.”
Yep, that’s Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee’s mother.
Simpson and Lee are also part of a wider and larger trend among conservatives.
More and more Republicans are learning that marijuana prohibition has failed and a lenient stance on pot is a political winner — and one that’s consistent with conservative “values,” already the buzzword of choice for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential hopefuls.