LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Texas House committee passed HB 2165, a bill that might make marijuana legal in Texas if it is voted on by the entire State Legislature.
When it comes to legalizing marijuana in Texas, East Texans have differing opinions.
"It's a plant that came from the ground,” said Angelina College student Joey Champion. “I know a lot of people have bad ideas when it comes to it, but in the end I don't think it's harming anybody."
"We're not going to openly and consciously support something we feel might be an endangerment to the general public as far as their safety and welfare goes," said Angelina County Sheriff's Department Captain Alton Lenderman.
After legalizing marijuana last year, Colorado made over $80 million in tax revenues and fees. Many supporters of HB 2165 passing believe that same revenue can be made in Texas.
"I think it's an overall good idea. We can benefit from it; we can make money from it,” Champion said. “I think it's even a way to create jobs for some people.
Many of the bill supporters also believe that marijuana should be legalized because it isn't as harmful as harder drugs and alcohol.
"With alcohol, you have your temper, you have the alcoholics who beat on people when they consumer too much,” said C.J. Pye, a student at Angelina College. “With marijuana, the most you see are people going to sleep or eating too much."
Law enforcement, however, disagrees with that claim.
"Any substance can be abused,” Lenderman said. “Unfortunately, no matter if you make it legal or not, you try to regulate or not, they can still be abused."
State Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, said he agrees with law enforcement and does not support the bill. State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, declined to comment.