A Republican lawmaker in Texas proposed an aggressive overhaul of the state's marijuana laws on Monday and he's citing a high-profile backer.
"All that God created is good, including marijuana," State Rep. David Simpson (R) told reporters. "God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix."
Simpson introduced a bill that would strike the mention of marijuana from all state statutes, essentially allowing it to be bought, sold and consumed like any other fruit-bearing plant.
"I am proposing that this plant be regulated like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee," he said in a statement.
His approach is so open-minded toward marijuana that even advocacy groups like the Marijuana Policy Project aren't endorsing it. Those organizations tend to support regulating marijuana like alcohol.
Still, Heather Fazio, the group's Texas political director, said she's happy to have someone like Simpson as an ally.
"There's no doubt that it's exciting to have someone be so bold, and it's a totally different approach to what's being done in the other states," she told Fusion. "He's one of these guys where you know where he stands on this issue. He speaks from his heart."
Texas isn't likely to adopt this sort of plan in the near term. While activists hope to pass some sort of marijuana reform legislation this year, they're aiming for bills that would first decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana or legalize the drug for medical use.
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.