Texas Democrats Embrace Marijuana, Which Will Change Nothing Because They're Texas Democrats

When Texas Democrats gathered in Houston last week for their annual convention last week, the mood was glum. Republicans have, after all, held every statewide office since 1994 and, while demographics are likely push the state back into Democratic hands by, oh, 2050 or so, there's not a lot to be optimistic about. Then you have those Republicans celebrating their stranglehold on power by seeing just how far right the state can tip before it falls over.

It's understandable, then, that the Dems would need a little something to help take their mind off things, to just mellow out a bit. So they did what any right-thinking liberal would do: They brought in some Mary Jane.

You can read through all 41 pages of the platform if you like, which enumerates the positions you'd expect on education, healthcare, and a host of other issues, or you can go straight to page 29 where they give the ganja a big wet one.

Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested for marijuana possession violations, more than all those arrested for violent crimes in America. Societal costs dealing with the ward on drugs concerning marijuana exceeds 12 billion dollars annually. Since the war on drugs began 85% of the arrests for marijuana have been for possession only.

Marijuana is no more dangerous than tobacco or alcohol. Recent polls show over 50% of Americans believe marijuana should be decriminalized. While arrests for marijuana since 1965 have been over 20 million citizens, marijuana is more prevalent than ever before.

There is no evidence that marijuana is a "gateway" drug leading to use of other more lethal drugs. 75% of citizens arrested for marijuana are under 30. Minorities account for a majority of those arrested for marijuana. Criminal conviction permanently scars a young citizen for life.

Texas Democrats urges the President, the Attorney General and the Congress to support the passage of legislation to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and regulate its use, production, and sale as is done with tobacco and alcohol.

They stress that they are only expressing support for decriminalization, not endorsing the use of marijuana, but I think it's clear that what they're really trying to say is "We really, really love weed."

Maybe, though, it's something more calculated. Rodger Jones at the DMN suggests that marijuana might be used as a tool to motivate the base, as he seems to be doing with his pronouncements on immigration and gay marriage.

Bets on whether Obama comes out more forcefully for medical marijuana before the election? If you think his immigration fiat will get him some votes, imagine the landslide if he declares an end to federal pot prohibition.

Yep. Forget about swing states and independents. Potheads will swing this election. I can already envision scores of them lining up before the polling place opens, eyes red from the early hour, waiting to fulfill their civic duty. Assuming of course they make it off the couch.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson