Locals react to advance of marijuana bill

Texas lawmakers are closer than they ever have been to passing any type of marijuana reform bill.

KENS 5 spoke to a person who makes his living defending those arrested for possession of marijuana and San Antonians who don't smoke marijuana.

The common denominator -- they think passing the law just makes sense.

"It has no snowball's chance in hell of passing the full legislature at this time," said defense attorney David Parent. He said the fact that it even got out of committee was baffling to those in his field.

The house Criminal Jurisprudence Committee passed a bill to legalize marijuana but it has a long way to go before it goes to the Governor's desk. But Parent said it's more likely a medical marijuana bill will make it through the full legislature long before flat-out legalization.

"To come out and tell the person, the recreation user or the person who uses it for some kind of medical reason, to tell them you're no longer a criminal, is a good thing," Parent said.

The bill may not enjoy as much support in the legislature right now as it does on the street, but a good number of people we spoke with said it should at least be decriminalized -- and none of them smoke marijuana.

"Decriminalizing marijuana would free up our prison system for much more needed inmates," said Gordon Spaulding, a local supporter.

"But there's a lot of young people in jail, doing paperwork, doing stuff, taking up room in jails," said Ramon Padilla, another supporter. "The killers should be in there, not the people smoking weed."

Even people like Manny Kiki, a drug counselor, said it would make more sense to legalize pot.

"It's not a nuisance -- the heroin, the cocaine and the meth and all of that is," Kiki said. "Marijuana is not the problem."

The Marijuana Policy Project cites a 2013 poll which showed 58% of Texas voters support legalizing marijuana. It is a safe bet it won't hold that much support in the legislature but Thursday afternoon the senate passed a bill which would legalize oils containing canabidiol to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions.

Right now there are 26 states which have approved medical marijuana but, so far, Texas isn't one of them.


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