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Gov. Perry Defends States’ Right To Legalize Marijuana

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(Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Gov. Rick Perry is defending Colorado and Washington’s legalization of marijuana as a states’ rights issue – and says he wants to keep minor drug offenders out of jail.

But the Republican added he doesn’t see Texas legalizing pot.

U.S. News and World Report quoted Perry at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland saying: “We certainly would never jump out in front of the parade.”

Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said the governor’s comments came while touting Texas drug courts, which offer treatment instead of jail time for non-violent marijuana offenders.

Asked if that meant Perry supports decriminalizing marijuana statewide, Nashed would only say “he’s very much for rehabbing and a diversionary program.”

But Nashed later told CBS 11 News, “If you heard the full context you would know that’s not what he said at all. This is not a new position. He is not on favor of legalization or decriminalization. There’s still a penalty with the drug courts. Some people have said decriminalize, I think that’s a step too far. Decriminalize may be a drug court but that means treatment and diversion programs.”

Some Texas counties already simply issue tickets for possession of small amounts of marijuana, making no arrests.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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