How the New Drug Law Was Made

Texas' new controlled substances act regulates everything from pot and heroin to those tranquilizers in your pocket.

TEXAS, THE NEXT-TO-LAST state to treat all marijuana possession as a felony (and the last to take seriously its two-years-to-life penalty) quietly succumbed to the ebbing wave of the Sixties counterculture on August 27 as the Texas Controlled Substances Act went into effect. The event was duly commemorated by connoisseurs of the forbidden hemp at midnight celebrations in the privacy of homes across the state—celebrations tempered by the knowledge that even the “reform” law viewed them as deserving a few days or months behind the bars of their nearby county jail, and tempered, too, by a theatrical sense of the absurd that so much energy could have been expended by so many to pass/toughen/ moderate/repeal/amend/reform a Prohibition that was honored more in the breach than the observance. Connoisseurs of irony took note that this particular message-in-a-bottle was lifted from the sand on precisely that day which the more doctrinaire members of the counterculture would once have deemed most piquantly repugnant— Lyndon Baines Johnson’s birthday, a new state holiday. Sic transit gloria psychedelia.

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