Texas House committee OKs full marijuana legalization bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A proposal seeking full legalization of marijuana on religious grounds has cleared an unlikely legislative hurdle.

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 surprisingly voted to support it Wednesday, 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, although that's still highly unlikely.

State law currently makes no exceptions even for medical marijuana, making outright legalization unthinkable.

Still, advocates hailed the committee vote as "unprecedented progress" for Texas marijuana rights.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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