Texas Democratic Party endorses decriminalization of marijuana

The Texas Democratic Party held their state convention in Houston, Texas, from Thursday, June 7th, through Saturday, June 9th.  Along with other election related business such as delegate selection and electing Judge Gilberto Hinojosa the first Hispanic party chair by an overwhelming margin.  They also voted on and passed the most progressive Texas platform in at least a generation including planks supporting: Marriage Equality  including adoption by same sex couples, repeal of the death penalty and replacing it with life without parole, women’s reproductive rights and sex education that is “evidence based, accurate and effective, comprehensive age-appropriate sex ed programs with an abstinence component, to reduce the rate of abortion;” as well as amending both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions to state that corporations are not people and a call for single-payer health insurance(aka “Medicare for All”).

One of the other key issues added this year was support for marijuana decriminalization. Below is the actual text:

Decriminalization of Marijuana

This decriminalization of marijuana does not mean we endorse the use of marijuana but it is only a call to wiser use of law enforcement and public health policy. Prohibition of marijuana abdicates the control of marijuana production and distribution to drug cartels and street gangs. Such prohibition promotes disrespect for the law and reinforces ethnic and generational divides between the public and law enforcement.

Every year, hundreds and thousands of Americans are arrested for marijuana possession violations- far more than all those arrested for violent crimes in America. Societal costs dealing with the war 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 alcohol or tobacco. 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 the use of 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 urge the President, the Attorney General and the Congress to support the passage of legislation to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and regulate it’s use, production and sale as is done with tobacco and alcohol.

We further urge the immediate decriminalization of the possession and use of medical marijuana.

Source: Texas Democratic Party 2012 Platform

In passing this historic platform, Texas Democrats now join a growing list of respected party members, cities and states now supporting marijuana law reform.  Governor Cuomo (D-NY) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) are endorsing decriminalization.  Earlier this year the Colorado Democratic Party endorsed marijuana reform as a part of their official party platform and announced their support of state’s legalization ballot initiative, Amendment 64.  The Washington State Democratic Party  also endorsed their state’s legalization initiate, I-502 late last year and these are but a few examples of the continuous flow of marijuana law reforms being considered and approved nationally at the state level.

Marijuana could very well be another Barack Obama secret weapon during the upcoming  election.  During the 2008 presidential campaign Obama said that he would respect states’ rights and cease federal prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries and since then public opinion has steadily grown in opposition to the drug war. In October 2011, Gallup reported a record high 50% support for legalizing marijuana and this May, 56% of people responded in favor of legalization in a survey from Rasmussen Reports, with only 36% opposed.

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