"Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If he put it here, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?" This famous quote by Willie Nelson, a well-known supporter and user of marijuana, is pictured front page and center on Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy's website. This organization is one of many that have formed over the past few years to help bring reform to Texas.
The goal of these organizations is to decriminalize marijuana use and to regulate it more like alcohol. A recent survey showed 58% of voters in Texas support regulating marijuana like alcohol and an even higher percentage are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana use. Since overwhelming voter support is one of the keys to law reform, these organizations focus on raising awareness of the benefits of reform and how we, the people, can play our part in supporting the movement.
Recent projections by Medical Marijuana Project ("MPP"), one of the most prominent forces in the legalization movement, are that 17 states will legalize marijuana by the year 2019. New York was recently the 23rd State to legalize medical marijuana and Philadelphia appears to be next. So what side of the fence will Texas end up on?
Ironically, if you were to ask this question a few years ago, the answer would easily be anti-legalization in general and for medical use. And any Texas politician in favor of legalization would be crazy to voice his or her opinion for fear that it would prevent their chances of re-election. Today, however, it is almost expected that a politician will express their position on legalization. In Texas, State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) and State Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin), who have been fighting to reform the state's "draconian" laws for years, believe that in 2015, when the Texas legislature next meets, they will finally see a favorable result.
Many advocates in the South still support tough crime laws. However, the majority just do not think marijuana possession should be considered a crime. The preference would be to have law enforcement resources utilized for real crime with victims that need justice rather than on non-violent marijuana users. Though Texas may be moving in the right direction, until the legislation is changed, Texas law on marijuana remains one of the toughest.
If you have become the victim of Texas' "draconian" laws, contact The Abland Law Firm or submit a free case evaluation.
State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston)
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin)