Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

News flash: Dan Patrick does not support loosening marijuana laws

In other news, summer is hot and it sometimes floods in Houston.

With less than two weeks left in Texas’ legislative session, medical marijuana advocates are ratcheting up pressure on Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who they say is blocking an effort to expand the state’s Compassionate Use Program.

House Bill 1535, by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, would expand the state’s medical cannabis program to include those with chronic pain, all cancer patients and Texans with post-traumatic stress disorder. It would also authorize the Department of State Health Services to add additional qualifying conditions through administrative rulemaking. Current law requires the Legislature to pass a bill to expand eligibility.

The Texas House voted 134-12 last month to send the proposal to the state Senate, where it has languished in a legislative purgatory. The upper chamber received the bill May 3, but it has not yet been referred to a committee, let alone voted on and sent to the floor. Wednesday is the last day the Senate can take up bills.

Patrick, who leads the Senate, has the final say on which bills are considered and to which committees they’ll be referred. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

“It’s difficult to come up with any explanation that makes sense as to why the lieutenant governor would block this legislation,” said Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. She added that the legislation is a “carefully crafted and moderate expansion” with wide bipartisan backing. Fazio said state Sens. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, who are both doctors, have voiced support for HB 1535.

[…]

Earlier this week, a Texas Senate committee advanced a proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis. House Bill 2593 would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana to a class C misdemeanor with no possibility of jail time. That measure is poised for a vote on the Senate floor.

This is not the first time Patrick has exercised his power to effectively kill cannabis-related proposals. In 2019, he likewise refused to give a hearing to a medical marijuana expansion measure. A Patrick spokesperson told The Texas Tribune at the time that the lieutenant governor is “strongly opposed to weakening any laws against marijuana [and] remains wary of the various medicinal use proposals that could become a vehicle for expanding access to this drug.”

With all due respect to Heather Fazio, Dan Patrick has always been clear about why he blocks bills like these: He thinks marijuana is bad and he thinks that efforts to decriminalize it are dangerous. The mystery to me is why we get so many optimistic stories about reducing penalties and promoting cannabis without any reckoning of this fact. He has a long track record of this behavior, and he has never said anything to indicate that his position is softening. I understand why anyone would not want to take Dan Patrick at his word, but this is one of those places where you should, because his actions speak very clearly and consistently. I will say this again: The only path to real reform of our state’s marijuana laws requires getting rid of Dan Patrick. As long as he holds power, pro-pot bills (with a few very limited exceptions) will wither and die in the Legislature. I really don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

UPDATE: The Trib story now reflects the fact that HB1535 was finally referred to a committee on Thursday, giving it a chance to pass out of the Senate. Time is short, and as noted it took more than two weeks for the bill to even be assigned to a committee. More progressive marijuana reform bills, ones that would reduce criminal penalties, never stood a chance. In other words, Dan Patrick may have given a bit under pressure, but the basic point remains. Marijuana reform doesn’t go any farther than he will allow, and he won’t allow much.

Related Posts:

16 Comments

  1. David Fagan says:

    They need to introduce bills that run concurrent in the House and Senate.

  2. C.L. says:

    Best I can tell, of all people, Dan Patrick could use a little doobage in his life. Might help temper his outrage and anger issues.

  3. Paul kubosh says:

    Pothead. Stop complaining. Just get hig and relax. Remember everything you want to losen the pot laws why don’t you just buy your kids some pot and get them off on the right start. Also take them to titty bar and an adult bookstore while you are at it. Ya’lls position on Pot is insane. Just my opinion.

  4. Paul kubosh says:

    Everything = everttime.

  5. Paul kubosh says:

    Everytime….can’t type while I am stoned.

  6. mollusk says:

    I’ve pretty much quit reading the comments because of the rampant trolling and name calling, but I couldn’t resist when I saw three in a row that were not from one of the usual suspects.

    After reading them, all I can say is “like, oh wow, man…”

  7. Paul kubosh says:

    Stoned man….just stoned. Pass the joints around the Thanksgiving table.

  8. C.L. says:

    Light up another fatty, Paul.

  9. Manny says:

    Paul, you just describe a man with his son, but not with pot but with a beer in his hand.

    https://youtu.be/ZJiV1_ijVm4

  10. Paul kubosh says:

    Manny if you are for pot in every house fine. Give it to your children and grandchildren. Have every one take a hit in the evening before supper. Watch them out perform others in life. I can’t believe that you would be for such a thing. Poor uneducated use it the most as a means of escape. Shame on you.

  11. C.L. says:

    Paul appears to have a case of Reefer Madness, literally 85 years after the movie came out.

    Personally, I’m infinitely more concerned with the white collar mugs and the blue collar drones getting one on at the rooftop bar or roadside icehouse after work then getting behind the wheel than I am with a buddy and his/her friends sitting around rolling pinners or consuming edibles while listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side.

    ‘Poor uneducated use it at the most as a means of escape’ may be the most…educated…reader comment I’ve read on this blog, and there have been some doozies. Truly spoken like an angry old white dude from 1936.

  12. Paul kubosh says:

    C.l. shame in you for using race. Everytime you use race it means nothing to me.

    Everyone who disagrees with you is a nazi. You are just another person to afraid to use your full name.

  13. C.L. says:

    Paul, huh ? ‘Using race’ ? What comment are you referring to ? And when have I ever accused or referred to anyone as a Nazi ?

    The reefer you’re so afraid of seems to be affecting your comprehension, judgement, and/or memory.

    My name’s Corey Lewandowski, by the way.

  14. Bill Daniels says:

    Paul,

    The leftists have indoctrinated their people with one basic truth, that they hold to be self evident…..White straight men like you and me are evil, and the cause of all the world’s problems.

    The fact that you and I sign the FRONT of paychecks, that we take the risks to make society function, is lost on them. You are evil and to be mocked. I am evil and to be denigrated.

    What I really can’t understand is, the cognitive dissonance there must be, since most all of the peanut gallery here, and even our gracious host, are….straight, White males, Manny and Jules excepted, of course. Where, exactly, do they see themselves, and their offspring, in the brave new world they are espousing? I mean, read the tea leaves….if they are successful with the CRT, anti-White government policies, and the other Marxist agenda, where will this leave them? Where will this leave Doris’ grandkids?

    I guess they figure that, 10 or 20 years from now, if they still wear their face masks, they can be identified as “one of the good ones” and maybe they’ll still be able to get a job or walk the streets without being assaulted or killed.

  15. Bill Daniels says:

    As an example of the extreme orthodoxy here, look at the reaction posters here have to Wolf, a very well spoken, rational guy who is absolutely a leftist, so much so that I accuse him of being a Frankfurt School devotee. So here’s a guy with solid credentials of the left, who can articulate and defend those positions, but just as soon as he evaluates the story of two Republican women making false criminal charges against a Republican man they know to be innocent, and points out that this is wrong, he’s crucified and accused of being an evil conservative.

    There’s no room for dissent, apparently. Heretics will be burned at the stake.

  16. […] here for the previous entry and a clear explanation of my position, if for some reason that was a […]