For the first time, a committee in the Legislature has approved a bill to decriminalize possession of marijuana, a move advocates hailed as a milestone moment in Texas.
The state House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee passed House Bill 507 late Monday, just three days after narrowly voting it down.
The tally the second time around was 4-2, with tea party Republican David Simpson of Longview joining with three Democrats. One GOP member did not attend.
The measure, which would make possession of less than an ounce of pot a civil infraction instead of a class B misdemeanor, will now go to the committee that controls the floor calendar.
It will likely stay there, and has virtually no chance of becoming law in a deeply conservative Legislature.
Nevertheless, the committee’s decision speaks volumes on how far Texas has shifted on the controversial matter.