I always say that Texas is a tough place for marijuana reform. Unlike most other states that have voted to reform their marijuana laws, Texas does not have a citizens initiative process. In states like Oregon, where I live, citizens can gather a certain number of signatures, and put marijuana reform on the ballot. Texas does not provide its citizens that option.
To make matters worse, Texas has very harsh marijuana laws. Get caught with over four ounces, or selling over 7 grams, and you are looking at up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A recent poll found that 74% of Texans support marijuana decriminalization. Per Your Houston News:
Seventy-four percent of Texas adults say the maximum punishment for being caught with pot should be changed from a criminal penalty to a ticket or fine, according to a new poll conducted by The Texas Lyceum.
Heather Fazio, Texas political director with the Marijuana Policy Project, said spending thousands of dollars prosecuting people for minor possession or consumption doesn’t make sense to taxpayers.
Fazio said decriminalizing marijuana could also free up the criminal justice system to focus on violent crime.
“I’m a limited government kind of girl, and I think one of the core functions of government is the facilitation of justice,” she said. “We’re not able to fulfill that duty when our law enforcement officers are distracted and our courts are flooded.”
Imagine how much money Texas would save if it decriminalized marijuana. The City of Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana, and in the first year saved over one million dollars. Marijuana prohibition is a waste of money. It’s beyond time that Texas politicians realized that and reformed Texas’ harmful marijuana laws. No one deserves to go to jail for a plant that is 114 times safer than alcohol.