Texas: Activists Say Lone Star State Moving Towards Marijuana Legalization
By Steve Elliott
Optimism is a good thing, don't you think? Some activists say FBI crime statistics will help move Texas closer to legalizing marijuana.
Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) points to new crime stats showing African Americans, while only making up about 12 percent of Texas' population, are arrested far more often than whites for marijuana possession, reports CBS DFW.
"There is no logical reason why law enforcement officials should be spending their time arresting and prosecuting adults simply for possessing a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol," Tvert said.
"It is the 15th highest arrest rate and right now, black Americans are being arrested at more than twice the rate as white," Tvert said. "Communities of color are really facing the most enforcement despite the fact that they use marijuana at the same rate as whites."
Marijuana prohibition costs U.S. taxpayers $41.8 billion per year, according to the MPP. Tvert said law enforcement needs to prioritize its crime-fighting efforts.
"We are spending our law enforcement resources arresting adults for marijuana, when we could be using those resources to address serious crime," he said.
Tvert said the stats on things like the waste of tax dollars on marijuana enforcement and the disproportionate arrest rates for blacks show how wrong current cannabis laws are, and demonstrate why Texas should legalize.
DFW NORML, a local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, will hold their regional conference this weekend. Organizers said one of the goals of the Texas Regional NORML Conference is to "give Texans an honest, entertaining and interactive cannabis education."