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AUSTIN(CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The Texas House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would end marijuana prohibition in the state.

Republican state Rep. David Simpson of Longview argues marijuana comes from God and therefore shouldn’t be banned by government. The tea party stalwart has repeatedly championed what he calls the “Christian case” for legalization.

Simpson’s bill languished for weeks before the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Three committee Democrats and two Republicans voted to support it though, and it passed 5-2.

That makes Simpson’s bill eligible for consideration to reach the House floor before the legislative session ends June 1.

A 2013 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, reported 58% of Texas voters support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol.

Four states have adopted laws that regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. Two of them, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated systems of marijuana cultivation and sales. Alaska and Oregon are in the process of implementing similar systems.

“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered in the Lone Star State,” said Heather Fazio, Texas Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project.  “Texas voters recognize that punishing adults for consuming a substance that is safer than alcohol is a waste of law enforcement resources and an affront to individual liberty. It appears most of the committee members agree.”

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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