The Top Ten Reasons Texas Should Legalize Cannabis, Y'all
There's a movement going on in other states, and it's a movement we quite like. A movement toward the legalization of cannabis, y'all.
As we're sure you know, Colorado has become the first state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of pot, and the response is overwhelming. On the first day of the legalization, there were anecdotes of pot shops selling out, lines forming around the block, and people all-out celebrating the legalization of weed.
And why wouldn't they? Cannabis legalization is a great thing. Poor ol' pot has had an undeserved rap sheet since the '70s, when an effort toward waging a "war on drugs" began to rear its ugly head. Nixon began to persecute pot, labeling it a "Schedule 1" drug, despite being advised otherwise. The falsities about the dangers of marijuana only snowballed from there, reaching its height during the '80s and '90s drug hysteria.
Well, the whole "lying to the public about weed" to fulfill a political agenda is pretty bogus, if you ask me. And much like Colorado, I feel it's time for Texas to forgive weed for its false sins and accept it for the wonderful plant it is.
Here are the top 10 reasons Texas should legalize cannabis. And no, it doesn't include looking cool to the nerdy kids.
10. The "War On Drugs" in Texas, as well as the rest of the nation, does not work. Full stop.
According to the DEA drug seizure statistics, we seized 780,000 pounds of marijuana in 2012. Marijuana accounts for more than 70 percent of major drug seizures in the United States. Weed. Weed is the most seized drug in the country, and it's also the least harmful. We wage this "war" on drugs around the clock, and yet somehow there are still massive quantities of drugs pouring into the United States. We aren't winning. We are not even stemming the tide.
9. Legalization and regulation, not prohibition, is the way to "think of the children."
Photo by Rusty Clark via flickr
Regulation and legalization does not condone the use of substances by "the children." It actually acts as a deterrent by way of regulation, making it more difficult to obtain by minors. Listen, folks. The shady drug dealer at the end of your street doesn't give a damn about checking ID's or verifying sources or strains. He's selling some dirt weed that has presumably exchanged so many hands, there's no telling what the hell is in it.
It's not unheard of for those street-level dealers to lace shitty, less-potent weed with whatever will get your kid to the next-level high. They don't care about you or your kid's safety. They just want to make a few bucks by any means possible. Do you really want to entrust your kid to the same dude who will deal your kid a couple of rocks if he asks nicely?
At least if it's regulated and sold by licensed, educated vendors to folks of a proper age, there's less of a chance for it to fall into the hands of "the children." And at the end of the day, your dumbass teenager may still manage to get his hands on it if it's legal (because let's face it; they're all dumbasses at that age), he won't be ingesting angel dust along with his THC. Bottom line is, those dumbass teenagers are pretty resourceful, whether it's legal or not. Might as well make sure it won't kill 'em.
8. It is a waste of law enforcement manpower, especially in a state that borders Mexico, to focus on the "crime" of possessing marijuana.
Each marijuana arrest costs taxpayers around $10,000. That does not take into account the manpower it takes to process the arrest, which often involves not one, but several officers and countless hours processing and prosecuting these crimes.
There are more important things to focus on, like the fact that in Texas in 2011, there were 70,000 pot-related arrests, 98 percent of which were for possession of the ganja. And during the same time period as those cannabis arrests, 90 percent of burglaries -- including freakin' home invasions -- and 88 percent of motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. Certainly seems like we could use some solid detective work elsewhere, no? Like perhaps on those crimes against other people?
7. Prohibition hands over the sale and distribution of cannabis to unregulated sources, including the violent drug cartels from Mexico, a country that happens to be our next-door neighbor.
Mexican cartels are credited with tens of thousands of drug-related murders in the past decade, and these dudes are the ones supplying the majority of marijuana in Texas. Geographically, Texas is not only logically going to be a major hub for the cannabis from Mexico, it's also a route to all of the other states.
People that are spending money on cannabis are not going to stop doing so, no matter what the penalties are. Prohibition does not work. So given the fact that prohibition will never end the sale and distribution of cannabis, why are we handing the distribution, and therefore the funds, over to violent criminal gangs? It only furthers the violence when a practice is driven underground. Legalize it, regulate it, and tax it, and you'll remove a whole lot of the strength from the guys in organized crime by way of a reduction in demand.
6. Texas, and the United States as a whole, regularly diverts funds from social welfare programs in order to enforce prohibition. Apparently prohibition > social welfare programs and/or starving kids.
Texas is home to 1 in 11 children in the United States. There has been a 47 percent increase in poverty in the homes of these children from 2000 to 2011, unemployment and underemployment are huge issues, and yet billions of dollars are being diverted from programs aimed at poverty in order to enforce prohibition. How is it justifiable to literally take food from the mouths of the children in Texas in order to keep people from smoking a freaking plant?
It seems counterproductive to claim that prohibition is for the good of the state, and we're enforcing it because "think of the children," when there are literally kids that have to walk up to their schools in the summer in order to be fed for lunch by the special programs in place for kids living in poverty. Is anyone thinking of the children who, I don't know, don't have food in their bellies? Probably not. They're all too busy sniffing out pot plants to notice.