Eric Holder has given a tentative green light for State recreational marijuana programs to go forward. Given how the last medical marijuana memo has been largely ignored, I’m still a little pessimistic the DOJ will really leave these States alone. Regardless, here are ten reasons Texas should take this opportunity to reform our State’s marijuana laws. As a reminder, possession of any usable amount of marihuana is a 180-days-in-county-jail misdemeanor in Texas. I know, we are insane about weed in the Lone Star State, but it doesn’t have to be this way. On to the list.
1. Willie Nelson. Are we really going to keep arresting Willie? Really? What kind of asshole arrests Willie Nelson for pot. If this was my only reason, it would be enough.
3. Limited Government. Freedom. Personal Responsibility. Every GOP candidate runs on these issues. Government isn’t limited if we are trying to arrest every single person for the crime of having some dried up plant material in their pocket. Freedom means the freedom to make adult choices without fear of arrest. And persons can be very responsible while stoned. Especially if you have a Lord of the Rings Trilogy for them to watch.
4. Young Adults. Young adults make terrible criminals; they confess that they have pot in their pocket, they consent to searches, they let their car smell like weed. Typical rookie mistakes. They are a very honest and trusting group, so they tell Officer Friendly about the joint in the console. Sometimes the cool police officers will let them go, but too often we throw college kids in jail with real criminals and then put them on probation.
Could you have handled probation at 19? Drug tests, reporting monthly, thousands in fees and fines? Worse, we give too many young adults a lifetime criminal record, a “drug conviction” that ruins their future. I’ve seen this first hand and it’s an incredibly shitty thing to do.
5. People are going to move to Colorado. I tell a lot of my cannabis clients to move to Colorado because they have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana. Colorado already has better weather than Texas, beautiful mountains, and no Greg Abbott.
Do we really need to give Texans another reason to bail on the oppressive heat and oppressive political regime here? Guess what, I’ve had a lot of “normal” marijuana clients come through my office. The kind of people you want living, working, and paying taxes here. The fact we threaten every joint owner in the State with 6 months in jail is a strong incentive for them to consider putting Texas in the rearview mirror.
6. Marijuana is medicine. The debate is over. Get over it. Adults need it, we have discovered that cannabis can help children as well. Fun fact- The Federal Government has a patent on medical pot, and the federal government has sent this guy over 130,000 joints for him to use as medicine.
Would you arrest these parents? In Texas, we would. Which brings me to my next point.
7. CPS is insane about marijuana. CPS will remove children and throw them into foster care if they find out the parents smoke weed. CPS can be crazy about pot, and the law gives them near unlimited authority to take your children if you use cannabis.
8. Opportunity Costs- Weed cases are a make work project for the criminal justice system. They provide zero public safety benefit. We waste millions in tax dollars, arresting, trying, and incarcerating pot smokers. At the same time we let real crime, that is, crime with victims, go unsolved. Instead of clogging the system with junk cases, we could free officers to investigate real crime.
9. What do George W., Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton have in common? That’s right, they loved the ganja and they didn’t get caught. We can’t even elect a President who hasn’t gotten high. That’s how you know a crime isn’t a real crime, when Presidential candidates can admit to it with impunity. Think if all 3 had admitted to theft, or assault? See, those are real crimes.
10. It’s inevitable. I’m tired of Texas being bassackwards when it comes to freedom. Why do we have to be last when it comes to legalizing adult behaviors. We still can’t gamble in Texas. Think about it, throwing dice on a table is too much freedom for our pols. We still have dry freaking counties. It’s embarrassing how much government we have in our lives. Cannabis reform would make us look less insane to the rest of the world. This isn’t Saudi Arabia or China, we are supposed to be free here. Why do we have to be last to embrace common sense reforms?
Finally, I’ll leave you with this- Weed is legal in North Korea, but not in Texas. We should have at least as much freedom as North Koreans.