- Legal marijuana is inevitable
Marijuana legalization is not a matter of “if”, but “when.” The sooner Texas gets on board, the sooner it will be able to help its citizens.
- Most Texans support legalization
In fact, 77% of Texans believe marijuana should be made legal for at least medical purposes.
- Marijuana decriminalization bill introduced
Some Texas State Representatives have introduced bills that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), introduced one that would radically change punishments for possession of under an ounce. Instead of a criminal charge leading to jail time and fines of up to $2,000, individuals would be fined only up to $100.
- Drug war a failure
The war on drugs is doing nothing to curb drug use, and doing a lot to put large amounts of people in prison. In fact, the US has the largest prison population in the world at about 2.3 million.
- Arrests waste taxpayer dollars
$251,641,800 was spent enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010 alone by the state of Texas. Decriminalization could prevent the majority of these costs.
- Texas second in arrests
In 2010, Texas ranked second in the nation for most arrests for marijuana possession. In Texas, someone is arrested every 0.12 hours for possession marijuana, or every 7.5 minutes. Arrested individuals end up losing their jobs, losing public benefits, wasting taxpayer dollars in jail, and unable to contribute to the national economy.
Not a Texas resident? Find out about your state at the ACLU’s theuncovery.org.
- Marijuana-possession biggest drug crime
53.5% of all drug arrests in the state of Texas are for marijuana possession.
- Possession arrests target minorities
Drug arrests disproportionally target black males. In 2010, Blacks made up 12.2% of the Texas population, but accounted for over a quarter of marijuana possession arrests. Blacks are on average 2.3 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession, despite the fact that Blacks and Whites use marijuana in equal amounts. Finally, five of the nation’s top 15 counties for highest black arrest rates for marijuana possession are in Texas.
- Latinos not accounted for
Latino arrests are generally counted as racially “white” arrests, meaning that far less whites are arrested than the above data indicates. Thus, the disparity between White and Black arrests is even greater than assumed, while the discrimination facing Latinos goes unaccounted for.
- Not a “gateway drug”
Recent studies (including this study issued by the federal government) indicate that there is no causal relationship between marijuana use and use of other drugs.
- Pot safer with regulation
If pot were regulated like alcohol, not only would it be taxable, but it would be much safer for customers. Legitimate vendors and FDA regulation would ensure products were not diluted by potentially harmful additives. Additionally, a reduction in black market sales will make access for minors more difficult. Legalization might also allow an open discourse about how to use pot safely.
- Legalization increases state revenue
Though reports about the extent of marijuana revenues are conflicting, the fact is that any tax on marijuana will cause Texas to benefit largely from legalization. The relief to the Texas court and criminal justice systems in less arrests and people sent to jail will only add to legalization’s financial benefits. Some data shows that full legalization could save the state $250,000,000.
- Medical marijuana bill introduced
Two recently introduced bills in the Texas Legislature, HB 3785 and SB 1989 would legalize cannabis for medical purposes. These are the most far-reaching and comprehensive of any medical marijuana bill yet introduced.
- Complete deregulation bill introduced
State Representative David Simpson recently filed a bill that would remove any mention of the drug from state law, effectively completely deregulating it.
- 24 states have legalized
24 other states have already legalized marijuana for medical uses.
- Legalization ≠ more marijuana use
There is little consensus among researchers about whether legalization and decriminalization lead to more marijuana use. Some studies indicate that there are no long term effects of legalization on use.
- Reduce black market demand
By creating a legitimate market for marijuana, legalization will reduce black market demand. This will then weaken organized crime in our cities and across our southern border.
- Provides valuable medical assistance
Marijuana has shown to have valuable medical uses for those suffering from illnesses such as: chronic pain, PTSD, seizures, and Alzheimers. Marijuana also stimulates appetite and relieves chemo-given nausea. It might even prevent the spread of cancer.
- Marijuana a low-risk drug
Unlike many other drugs, including alcohol, marijuana is not lethal and not often addictive.
- Colorado is doing fine
Colorado has made money, relieved its criminal justice systems, and maintained productivity despite full legalization.