Marijuana Legalization Could Come to Texas, and Law Students are Helping Figure How

Categories: Crime, Education

Cannabis.jpg
Soon?
Rehman Bhalesha was raised around marijuana. That's not to say that he dealt, or that he pushed, or that he used. He didn't have to. Weed, growing up, turned up wherever he went.

"Living in South Texas, you really see the substance flood high school and college campuses and neighborhoods, without any regulation, in a completely illicit market," Bhalesha, set to be a third-year student at the South Texas College of Law, told Hair Balls. "I've spent my entire life seeing a strong need [for regulation]."

Experiences in Houston and Austin crafted his views. Academic research buttressed his conclusions. And then, in 2012, after letters to legislators effected little change, a blog post from Rice University's Baker Institute Drug Policy Program lit an idea. Bhalesha approached his dean. What was the potential for a crossover? What was the potential for a joint project between STCL and one of the pre-eminent drug-focused think tanks in the nation?

"We really have an amazing dean -- he's really forward-thinking," Bhalesha related. "The stars just aligned."

Months after that initial notion, and after Bhalesha had contacted those affiliated with the Baker Institute's DPP arm, he's produced a 22-page paper (below) examining the realities and challenges facing marijuana legislation within Texas. Surveying tax policy and enforcement methods, detailing relationships between marijuana and tobacco, observing opportunities to reduce adolescent marijuana usage and increase state revenue, Bhalesha has taken a fresh eye to the issue of marijuana enforcement in Texas.

Furthermore, the paper comes at an opportune time, published on the heels of the ACLU's recent report blasting Texas for the racial disparities in marijuana-related arrest rates.

"I'd say Texas definitely needs [evaluation], arguably more so than California or Colorado, because of the proximity to the border, because of the ACLU report, because it's among the top states spending the most money arresting the most people, all while being less effective," Bhalesha says. "That's how desperate Texas is."


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62 comments
Justin Corey Webb
Justin Corey Webb

Actually, Twinkies will be making a come back this month; a new company has taken over distribution. All is not lost.

Justin Corey Webb
Justin Corey Webb

Hoping that the Supreme Ct, assuming it does arrive there, will be on the right side of the issue, that is, reclassification and decriminalization.

Justin Corey Webb
Justin Corey Webb

The morality police, parading around as Christians and other ideologues, will impede this under their primary moral argument "must protect the children." I see lawsuits originating in either CO or WA ultimately arriving at the Supreme Court as facilitating this change. As long as the Fed Govt classifies the drug Schedule I, it won't make a difference what the states do. (see: Supremacy Clause)

Sergio R. Garcia
Sergio R. Garcia

Can't we just repeal the drug laws WITHOUT adding regulation?

Felipe Carlos
Felipe Carlos

Good luck down there... when I was a kid in Texas, black guys could routinely get 20 to life for being caught with a joint in some counties, like Walker county for one. I saw so many lifers wearing their whites, and talked to a few in their 70s who couldn't even remember why they were in prison, they had been in so long... Until you folks in my former state can stop electing hard-core religious right freaks to the legislature, it ain't happening.

pitchman101
pitchman101

I was just wondering. If the Federal government were to reclasify MJ, Could that open up pandora's box in the form of lawsuits against the government pertaining to its blatant willfull ignorant irresposible handling of Marijuana over the past 70 years?

Is there any legal presedence in that a government caused so much damage to so many people by its pathetic policy's that they were held morally ethically and criminaly accountable?

If Marijuana is found to offer all the releif that is being documented in this internet age, and it truely can be shown that U.S Policy blocked access to legitimate treatment that directly or potentaly led to so many false imprisonments and deaths, Then wouldn't our government need to first document something that said in affect, We the U.S governemnt cannot be held responsible for our blatant ignorant irresponsible actions of the past 70 years as it pertains to Marijuana?. Make it legal?

If so, Could that be a reason for the current administrations complete lack of willingness to right this Wrong?

By doing so, the U.S government would be openly admiting its policy's were flaud. Pandora's box would then be open.

Just Saying!

Brian Chestnut
Brian Chestnut

They won't let us have gambling, and pretty soon.... Easy access to abortions. And you think they are going to allow marijuana? Delusional...

Shelly Atwood
Shelly Atwood

Well, it's basically a legal matter, so who better to deal with that?

Deborah Anne Steinau
Deborah Anne Steinau

Texas will be one of the last three states in the US to change pot restrictions. The other two will be Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Marie Valdez
Marie Valdez

Sheer stupidity! Let's let folks drive drunk too, as long as they know they must go to jail for the consequences! And let perverts get off by doing underage girls because they can't get it at home! Is there anything else you people want to legalize? As if things weren't hard enough as it is. Laws and rules were not meant to be broken; not even by the ones that should be enforcing them!

Bren Ke
Bren Ke

Marijuana Legalization could come to Texas... and the Moon COULD come down from the sky, land in my back yard, and fix me a chocolate sundae.

Robyn Twangeaux
Robyn Twangeaux

Well good Jorge, then we can be rid of them and get them the hell outta my uterus

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

Libertarian-leaning conservative blowhards aren't the ones you have to worry about. It's the Establishment Dem-bots who would be the biggest obstacle. Mayors Rawlings & Parker are very much proponents of continuing the Endless War on (Some) Drugs™ just like Denver mayor Uncle Tom Hancock, CO guv Hickiehooper, and WA guv Jay Inslee who campaigned against decriminalization in those states. They are far more concerned with redevelopment dollars and catering to their base of support that consists of self-entitled, upper class aging boomers/Gen X-ers. LOL

Jose Luis Quintanilla
Jose Luis Quintanilla

Good God!! And the Hostess Company just closed down!! Along with all their Twinkies and Cupcakes!!! If only they waited a few more months!!

Robert Blain
Robert Blain

The only way it becomes legalized in Texas is if the religious right decides to use it as a way to show they're progressive while pushing through the rest of their agenda.

Jen Cole
Jen Cole

so we won't be able to make informed decisions as women about our bodies but we'll be able to smoke pot- great - so we'll raise a new generation of slackers who munch - don't get me wrong - i think it should be legal - it's just a hypocritical and political picking and choosing - all about the mighty dollar

Phillip Byron
Phillip Byron

It should be legal. People post pictures all over social media of themselves with friends and family at happy hours all over America drunk off their asses posting pics of their drinks and how fucked up they are. Yet we marijuana smokers sit back, share our weed, listen to Prince or Bob Marley minding our business craving White Castles and we're criminals. People need to tell the truth as to why marijuana is illegal. It was do to the Southwestern States racism towards Mexican migrant workers and William Randolph Hearst. Marijuana USED to be legal and smoked by many people. Here's to the smokers! Peace & Love.

Michael Terry
Michael Terry

Gonna need stricter enforcement in some work environments. Dealing with people that only smoke on weekends you can see improvements of their memory throughout the week.

Rashad Eaglin
Rashad Eaglin

I personally rarely smoke it, but I'm all for it. It's silly to have it illegal anyway.

darren1988
darren1988

Legalization is inevitable because 60-70% of young people are in favor of it, and as our generation moves into state legislatures and Congress they will vote to make it legal. No question about that, the only question is how long until then?

  I'd say in the next 20-30 years marijuana will be legal nationwide, but definitely not in the next five years. That's just being too optimistic in my opinion, an example is Prohibition. Although the federal government repealed Prohibition in 1933, Mississippi didn't legalize alcohol until 33 years later in 1966. So it could conceivably take decades for marijuana to be legalized in every state, which is a travesty considering this injustice has been going on for nearly a hundred years already in some states.

Melissa Sánchez
Melissa Sánchez

You imagine houston after legalization? Cops being able to focus on real crime instead of kids smoking in the park...ah, how nice.

claygooding
claygooding

We,the people can stop 60% of the drug cartels cash flow and we don't need guns,tax dollars or more Border Security to do it. We can do it with a watercan and a hoe.

Kevin Hightower
Kevin Hightower

Users aren't violent and our government is is a puppet show that profits off unwinnable wars. Dealers are violent. Legalize and tax is the way.

Kevin Hightower
Kevin Hightower

There will be a spike in drug use and itll be scary but Amsterdam went through the same and has a waaaaay low crime rate.

Joel Garfield
Joel Garfield

"Put them out of business with a pen not a gun." This is exactly right. Supply only exists because of demand. A million dead cartel gangsters won't change that fact.

Joel Garfield
Joel Garfield

King Ricky is a puppet of industry. He'll do whatever his handlers tell him to do. Convince them that there's a veritable shitload of money in cannabis and he'll sign the legislation like a good lad.

Joel Garfield
Joel Garfield

Money money money. Show the powers that be just how much money they're losing to the cartels. Legalization will be inevitable.

Kevin Hightower
Kevin Hightower

It needs to be legalized and we need to follow Amsterdam's lead not because doing drugs is good but because the war on drugs is creating the border violence we blame on illegal immigrants. Legalize everything and provide sterile syringes because people will do it no matter what. But you can save people from getting shot in deals gone wrong and by cartels. Put them out of business with a pen not a gun.

Kevin Hightower
Kevin Hightower

I live in Texas and though there is a lot of old-thinking and even racism, I see it when I'm alone with other whites and I hear it openly at me from some black people, many of us are very progressive. Houston is conservative yet diverse, Austin our capital is a liberal hotbed but I am VERY proud of Ron Paul. I voted Obama and I regret it because I didnt know he's fill his cabinet with Wall Street, Federal Reserve Bankers and Bush advisors. Ron Paul get's it. I've been to the Northwest and it was a cool place. But Texas is not as backwards as you think or Rick Perry makes us look.

Michael Gutowsky
Michael Gutowsky

Nice try. 5 Months is not a zygote,cowboy. A 5 month child can live and thrive. Late term abortion is a procedure that kills a tiny human.

Kristen Ortwerth-Jewell
Kristen Ortwerth-Jewell

Surprisingly, marijuana legalization and immigration reform are the two areas where Texas conservatives diverge from their fellows in other areas of the country. I don't know if I'd say this is a legitimate possibility, but Texans are in a lot closer agreement on it than we are on same sex marriage, education reform, the lottery commission/gambling, or women's rights.

gharrod
gharrod

@Marie Valdez Wow, you're an idiot!  Guess what...Our government has had it wrong all along, and you side with this group of insidious fools? Do some research.  Watch the Chief CNN Medical Correspondent's documentary Weed, The Code of The West, and go to the NORML website.  Read some actual statistics.  Marijuana related arrests are insanely high because Private Prison stock goes up when more people are incarcerated. Read The Emperor Wears No Clothes, and learn something other than to spout off the mindless garbage which apparently has been spoon fed to you your entire life.  You, ma'am, have absolutely no common sense, and apparently a severe lack of intelligence.  Marijuana allows people with addictions the ability to break free of them.  It provides millions of people tremendous pain relief, and it allows people a relaxing activity that does not compromise one's integrity - or ability to use motor function the way alcohol does.  It is something which has been used for thousands of years, and will continue to be used for thousands more.  Our own president admittedly used it, and so have many others.  The world is starting to realize what a huge, surreptitious mistake it has made, and will redact this over time with a ridiculous political process, but they can't outright admit it without a horrible backlash. Marijuana is acceptable, moral, and a gift from God (if you believe in that.)  Soon it will be legal, and people like you will continue to look like idiots. 

PhilDeBowl
PhilDeBowl

Grow your own ,it's the American way.

punwik
punwik

@pitchman101  Its people like "Marie Valdez" why millions of people are in pain and cannot get quality medical marijuana legally! They are either forced to endure the pain and suffer or they can get addicted to opiate pain killers and be even more miserable!

darren1988
darren1988

@PhilDeBowl Yeah, the American way to a decades long prison sentence in Texas. Really sucks to live in this state I'll tell you that.

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