Saturday, January 11, 2020

#atxcouncil, #TXLEGE: A Predictable Response to the Legislature's Incompetent Policymaking

"He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer."
Proverbs 18:9

From the department of completely unsurprising developments:
As Texas law enforcement grapples with how to determine whether a substance is marijuana after lawmakers legalized hemp last year, one city’s officials are putting forward their own solution: effectively decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot altogether.

The Austin City Council will vote on a proposal later this month that, if approved, would “virtually end arrests and fines” by city police for possession of personal amounts of cannabis, according to a summary and copy of the measure obtained by The Texas Tribune.

The resolution, raised by four progressive members of the 11-member council, would largely direct police to stop arresting people or issuing citations in low-level marijuana possession cases in which officers won’t be able to get lab reports to chemically distinguish between now-legal hemp and illegal marijuana. It also would forbid the city from spending funds or using its personnel to perform such tests.
There's a lot that can be said about the wisdom of this development.  It might or might not be a good idea.  But there's a more important question: What did you expect?!?

Because the die on this one was cast last summer, when the Legislature botched the hemp bill.

As we said last July:
Obviously, this story is amusing. The stoner jokes write themselves. Furthermore, the policy outcome is one this author has long supported.

That being said, there is a serious angle to this story: Legislative sloppiness.

While the hemp/marijuana slip up is humorous, the policymaking environment that enabled it is NOT.

The legislature routinely passes massive, complicated, bills without having a clue what they'll actually do. Sometimes those bills have real world consequences. Unfortunately, half-assed policymaking is a predictable consequence of the legislature's culture of entitlement.

[Note: Emphasis in original.]
When the legislature's half-assed policymaking creates a gigantic loophole in the law, it should surprise nobody when Greg Casar drives a Mack truck through it.

If the state of Texas doesn't like it, the Governor can call a special session.

Cuz' this is their own damn fault.

Like it or not.

Bottom Line: The State of Texas could fix this legal loophole in 30 minutes if there was political will to do so.  There isn't.  Like it or not, Casar's action has all the legal justification it needs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.