By Wes Annac, Editor, Karma Yoga Daily
Cannabis has come a long way in the United States, but it still has a long way to go. 10 states have legalized it, 31 have legalized for medicinal use, and 22 have enacted decriminalization laws that drastically reduce the penalty for being caught with it. The changes so far have been massive, and the momentum can only grow from here.
In a surprising sign of where things are headed, the Texas Republican party recently came out in favor of marijuana and hemp decriminalization; as well as an expansion of Texas’ medical marijuana program. This is notable because conservatives often take an anti-marijuana stance, claiming legalization will lead to an increase in addiction, expose more kids and teenagers to cannabis, and put more impaired drivers on the road (among other fear-based scenarios).
Let’s not forget the bizarre statement from our Attorney General that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”. This is the kind of opposition we’re dealing with.
This decision shows that marijuana does not have to be a party politics issue. Republicans can move away from their party’s negative stance on this beneficial plant. The issue of cannabis can cross party lines and unite people on both sides to fix these insane laws that put people in jail for a plant with proven benefits.
Even though the party is endorsing decriminalization and not legalization (and thus not going far enough – more on that below), it’s an improvement from their current law.
Heather Callaghan at Natural Blaze writes of the party’s recent approval to endorse decriminalization.
“Delegates at the Republican Party of Texas convention voted their approval on Saturday for platforms endorsing ‘marijuana decriminalization, medical cannabis and industrial hemp.’
“Not only that, but the Party delegates are actually calling for a change in cannabis’s Schedule classification by the federal government.” (1)
Heather cites a Forbes article quoting “one of the party’s new positions”. It states that possession of one ounce of cannabis or less should be a “civil” rather than “criminal” violation. It also states that the threat of jail should be replaced with “a fine of up to $100” and calls on congress to remove marijuana from Schedule 1. (1,2)
Another position, Forbes reports, calls upon legislators to increase in size the “existing state law” that restricts patients’ ability to obtain medical marijuana extracts low in THC. This is to help doctors figure out what dosages, etc. are “appropriate” for “certified patients”. The fourth position highlights the importance of decriminalizing industrial hemp, calling it a “valuable agricultural commodity”. (1,2)
According to Forbes, the party’s sudden “support for such far-reaching cannabis reforms” indicates that marijuana is now “mainstream” in the U.S. political system. (1,2)
I agree, and this is clearly a step in the right direction for Texas; one founded upon logic and common sense. Despite this, we’re not out of the woods yet. We should be happy for the changes happening across the country, but for this to work, we must acknowledge that decriminalization is not enough. We need legalization.
If police bust some innocent cannabis user, I’d be all for them receiving a fine over jailtime if that were the only option. Fortunately, it’s not. States like Colorado have reported incredibly positive results from legalization, showing the rest of the country that it works. It’s our only choice if we want sensible marijuana laws.
Change is coming, and the anti-marijuana crusaders can’t stop it. People today are smart enough to see through the reefer madness-era propaganda and understand for themselves the advantages and disadvantages of using cannabis. Soon enough, the laws around this plant will no longer be rooted in fear, hysteria, and suppression. Cannabis users will be free to be themselves without fear of persecution.
“The Texas Republican party has endorsed decriminalization” is something I never thought I’d write. Who knows what great things will happen next. One thing is clear: legalization is not a matter of “if”, but when.
- Heather Callaghan, “Texas Republican Party Endorses Marijuana, Medical Cannabis, Industrial Hemp Decriminalization”, Natural Blaze, June 21, 2018 – https://www.naturalblaze.com/2018/06/texas-republican-party-endorses-marijuana-medical-cannabis-industrial-hemp-decriminalization.html
- Tom Angell, “Texas Republican Party Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization”, Forbes, June 17, 2018 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2018/06/17/texas-republican-party-endorses-marijuana-decriminalization/#5509f9735236
Other sources linked in article.