Decriminalize marijuana and establish Medicinal Marijuana laws in Texas
Decriminalize marijuana and establish Medicinal Marijuana laws in Texas
Why this petition matters
Hello, my name is Jacob White. I am a US Army veteran, proud Texan and a supporter and advocate of Medical Marijuana and Veterans benefits and support.
I am starting this petition to hopefully ignite a change in how Texans, and the US, view marijuana and the benefits we can get from it; both fiscally through the regulation and taxation of marijuana growth and sales and medically through compassionate and responsible use to treat many mental and physical illnesses and pain.
Most of my talking points and articles will be cited from a wonderful resource known as texasmarijuanapolicy.org. I will also be speaking from personal and anecdotal experience, and I welcome you to comment your personal experiences with medical and recreational marijuana in the comments!
As a veteran of the US Army currently diagnosed with PTSD and Severe Chronic Pain, I feel like a bipartisan change can be made and health needs for veterans and civilians alike can be helped with your support!
Current policies are failing us and I’d like to see my representatives and senators leading with legislation to repeal prohibition. We’d be better off legalizing marijuana, or at least decriminalizing it. We arrest too many people, derailing their lives and wasting valuable law enforcement resources.
According to the Unified Crime Report, in 2012 there were over 70,000 arrests for marijuana possession in Texas, more than in any other state. Meanwhile, the state clearance rate for reported rape cases was only 44%, and nearly 70% of robbery cases went unsolved.
A criminal penalty accompanying a conviction for possession of a small amount of marijuana can lead to a lifetime of harsh consequences. A conviction can result in denial of student financial aid and government housing benefits, employment, and professional licenses.
Although more than 105 million adults have used marijuana, the unequal enforcement means these harsh collateral consequences disproportionately affect minorities.
African-Americans are 2.3 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar rates of usage.
In Texas, 97% of all marijuana-related arrests are for possession — not manufacture or distribution.
Imposing criminal penalties and jail time on those who possess small amounts of marijuana forces law enforcement to spend valuable time on arresting, processing, and prosecuting nonviolent offenders. This time would be better spent going after violent criminals.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Texans are diagnosed with serious and debilitating conditions — such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and seizure disorders.
Tens of thousands of Texas’ 1.6 million veterans are living with PTSD or intractable pain as a result of their time spent serving their country.
The suffering of these patients is devastating or them and their families.
For some seriously ill patients, currently available medications are not effective, and many of the treatments currently prescribed cause devastating side effects. A recent study found that overdoses on opiates decreased by 25% in states with medical marijuana laws — while medical marijuana has never caused a fatal overdose.
Patients need the freedom to use the treatment that is right for them, and physicians must be free to recommend the best treatment for their patients without government interference.
There is extensive research indicting the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating a range of conditions such as wasting, muscle spasticity, and chronic pain.
Legalizing medical marijuana will create growth and job opportunities in Texas in addition to providing relief to thousands of patients.
Reducing government interference in the medical field and creating a market for medical marijuana is a state’s prerogative.
Texas voters support allowing access to medical marijuana. A 2013 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 58% of Texans support allowing access to medical marijuana.
A 2013 national poll by Fox News found that 85% of Americans support medical marijuana.
Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. currently allow patients legal access to medical marijuana. Several other states are currently considering legislation to allow access to medical marijuana.
For some patients for whom currently available medications are not effective, medical marijuana may provide relief from suffering and improve quality of life.
It’s time for Texans to ensure medical freedom for seriously ill patients to access the best treatment for their care, including medical marijuana.
The Texas Nurses Association “believes alternative therapies and complementary modalities may be appropriate interventions to meet patient needs. Such therapies and modalities include the use of marijuana in appropriate medical situations such as helping patients manage chronic pain. Patients should have access to marijuana for such use and practitioners should have the right to counsel patients about the use of marijuana in appropriate medical situations.”
Marijuana prohibition has failed. Today, over 106 million Americans admit to having tried marijuana, and over 17.4 million say they have used it in the past month.
Marijuana prohibition has been just as ineffective, inefficient, and problematic as alcohol prohibition was in the 1920s and 1930s. Most Americans agree it is time to replace this failed policy with a more sensible approach.
A majority of Texans agree it is time to replace marijuana prohibition with a system of reasonable regulation, legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and over.
Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol. It is less toxic, less addictive, and less harmful to the body, and it does not contribute to violent and reckless behavior. Adults should not be punished for choosing to use the safer substance.
By treating marijuana like alcohol, we can take sales out of the hands of drug cartels in the underground criminal market and put them behind the counters of state-licensed businesses that are creating jobs and paying taxes.
Law enforcement officials’ time and resources could be better spent addressing violent and otherwise serious crimes instead of arresting and prosecuting adults for using marijuana. For example, in Houston alone, over 15,000 burglaries with viable leads went uninvestigated in 2013. During that same time period, over 74,000 arrests for possession of marijuana occurred in Texas. Clearly, our tax dollars and our law enforcement priorities need to be redirected.
Texas is also poised to be an agricultural powerhouse for medical marijuana growth, as the vast farmland and climate make controlled growth and cultivation wonderful for the states agricultural economy!
I will also be further updating these talking points and recommendations as I find more valuable resources for proving to congress how many Texans want and need medical and recreational marijuana!
Thank you all for your support!