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SHSU students unsure if Texas is ready for marijuana to be legalized

Staff Reporter

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 00:11

MaryJane

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

Marijuana plants flourish under the lights at a grow house in Denver, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. Marijuana legalization votes this week in Colorado and Washington state don’t just set up an epic state-federal showdown on drug law for residents. The measures also opens the door for marijuana tourism.

After Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana last Tuesday, some students have wondered if Texas is also ready for such a decision.


The recent vote has given rise to states rights, marijuana tourism, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of Amendment 64, which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. Some students have questioned if Texas would ever consider a similar amendment.


“Texas is too conservative,” said senior Melissa Avendano.    


“I am reminded that the majority of people who actually go out and vote are also the people who have strong feelings against it. It’s up to the people of Texas to show up and support whatever side they feel is the right one” said Annalee Miller.


According to a Gallop Poll released on Oct. 17 a record-high 50 percent of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal. This is up from 46 percent last year.


Some states have decriminalized marijuana’s use, some have made it legal for medicinal use, and some officials, including former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, have called for legalizing its use.


“What I think is horrible about all of this, is that we criminalize young people. And we use so many of our excellent resources … for things that aren’t really causing any problems,” said Elders in an interview on Oct. 18. “It’s not a toxic substance.”


“Studies have shown that it’s not really all that bad for you.  It’s not good for you, but not that bad,” said Matt Klaser. “Legalizing it would lower the power to drug dealers and lower pot related crimes. It would also keep recreational users out of the jail system when they aren’t really ‘criminals.’”


Support for marijuana’s legalization is directly and inversely proportional to age, according to gallup.  Among adults ages 18 to 29 there is a 62 percent approval rating. Ages 65 and older, however, are down 31 percent.


A study by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy also said legalizing the drug could boost state revenue by about $24 million based on excise taxes alone.


Although the recreational use of marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington, federal law still recognizes its use as a criminal act, reports Reuters.  


The federal government will likely intervene, putting pressure on marijuana shops which will be followed by street-level enforcement of federal law.


“This is a symbolic victory for [legalization] advocates, but it will be short-lived,” said former adviser to the Obama administration’s National Drug Control Policy Kevin Sabet.


“They are facing an uphill battle with implementing this, in the face of… presidential opposition and in the face of federal enforcement opposition.’


The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States.”

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