The days of whispering the word marijuana for fear of being judged or getting in trouble are slowly coming to an end. A 2015 Pew Research Center study shows that the number opposed to legalizing marijuana versus those in favor of it is decreasing dramatically. In 1984, 81% were opposed to legalization. The 2015 report shows 53% in favor and only 44% opposed. The medical advances, the safety procedures and the fact that other states are legalizing marijuana have all played an integral part in the drastic transformation of public opinion.
According to the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Party, the state is required to issue at least three dispensary licenses by September 2017 to be able to sell marijuana-based products (i.e. cannabis oil).
If it’s Good Enough for Washington, It’s Good Enough for Texas
The International Business Times reports that there are 23 other states that have legalized medical marijuana. Four, including Washington, D.C., plan to legalize cannabis completely. If the home of the President of the United States can legalize cannabis completely, that goes a long way for other places, like here in Texas.
Now that we know legalization is coming to Texas, let’s talk about the benefits for our state.
Top 5 Reasons to Legalize Marijuana in Texas:
- It will make the state green (in more ways than one). There is definitely something to be said for the tax money states will gain from legalizing marijuana. Michael Taylor from ExpressNews.com ran this quick calculation to back it up. “In the last full fiscal year, Colorado reported $102 million in total receipts from marijuana-related taxes and fees, with a year-over-year growth rate above 60 percent, suggesting significantly more money to come to the state in future years. Bloomberg reported that Washington (state) expected $135 million in tax receipts in 2015 at the state, county and local levels, with year-over-year growth above 100 percent.” Taylor then went on to use Washington’s numbers to come up with an estimate as it relates to Texas: “I’m confident that Texas could generate—conservatively—an estimated $500 million in incremental tax revenue per year if the state legalized marijuana.”
- Cops have other important things to do. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, in 2010, over 850,000 people were arrested for marijuana offenses, and 88% of those were for possession only. The American Civil Liberties Union blog takes that a step further and puts those numbers in perspective for Texas, by stating, “In 2010, about 75,000 Texans were arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2012, that number was about 70,000. That same year, about 90 percent of the burglaries, home invasions, and car thefts reported in Texas remained unsolved. In Houston alone, 12,000 possession arrests were made in 2013, while 15,000 burglaries, 3,000 hit-and-runs, and 3,000 assaults went uninvestigated.” The numbers speak for themselves.
- Marijuana has medical benefits. While not everyone is on board with this thinking, there are plenty of studies validating the medical benefits of marijuana. One article from Business Insider lists 23 health benefits of marijuana, such as treating glaucoma, controlling seizures, stopping cancer from spreading, etc.
- Unfair policing policies shouldn’t be so black and white. American Civil Liberties Union released a report on a national level that showed, when it comes to marijuana possession; African-Americans are arrested at higher rates than Caucasians. Check out the full report on the ACLU website.
- Free up space in prisons and cut back on tax dollars spent prosecuting these offenses. The majority of marijuana-related crimes don’t need to go through the court system wasting taxpayer dollars. Our prisons are already over-crowded. About half of federal prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders, and overcrowding is a serious issue across the nation, especially in Texas. Read this Chron.com article explaining some of the issues the state is currently trying to overcome.
Helping Keep Texas Great
At Thiessen Law Firm, we are proud to serve the people of the great city of Houston, and share our thoughts on why legalizing marijuana in Texas can be beneficial for many. If you have questions or concerns about a marijuana-related case here in Texas, contact our team for a free one-on-one consultation.
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