Legalize marijuana: America’s oldest war needs to end

Earlier this month, House Bill 2165 — a resolution to legalize the production, sale and consumption of Marijuana — was introduced to the Texas Legislature. Filed by tea-party conservative David Simpson, the bill is one of six resolutions regarding the illicit plant being discussed this legislative session.

Simpson’s bill is distinct in that it grants more freedoms regarding the controlled substance than successful legalization measures in Colorado and Washington, who opted for strict governance. Simpson, who defends the plant as a “creation of God,” explained in a news release that he supported regulating the plant as we would “tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee,” according to The Houston Chronicle.

Simpson doesn’t fit the profile one might expect of a man trying to wrangle a plot for legalized pot in Texas. His far-right ideology draws from popular libertarian ideas like downsizing government and respecting personal liberties.

Simpson drew heavily from his Christian faith in forming his opinion of marijuana, even saying that “everything God made is good, even marijuana.”

Amen, Representative Simpson. Surely the man’s intentions are pure, though I much prefer some rhetoric based in logic than the faith of another.

However, Simpson does use conservative logic to paint a defense of marijuana any red-blooded Texan could understand. Legalizing pot reduces pot-related incarcerations, thus lowering crime rates and decreasing cost to the legal system.

This also frees up resources to deal with violent crimes or properly funding Texas education.

The strategy could save Texas millions, and that doesn’t even speak of the tax revenues and tourism boosts to local economies that come with a “Green Revolution.”

According to CNN, Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, pulled in $53,000,000 last year in recreational sales tax alone, with $12,000,000 more coming from medicinal tax.

While this may be a drop in the bucket toward the state budget, Colorado used the money to bolster education statewide. Most importantly, that’s hundreds of millions of American dollars in sales not flowing directly into drug cartel’s hands.

For those who don’t know, the drug cartels — which bring in billions in illicit revenue each year — are responsible for killing well over 100,000 people between 2006 and 2012, reported The Washington Post.

The “War on Drugs” we’ve been fighting since before President Richard Nixon even coined the term back in the seventies has failed. In it’s 44 “official” years, drug related incarcerations have increased tenfold from 50,000 to 500,000, American’s have paid over $1 trillion and drug use is as present as ever here the U.S.

It’s time to accept the facts. The war on drugs has created a system that disproportionately oppresses and jails lower classes, systematically deepening socio-economic stratification and having massive impacts on entire generations. Our “Land of the Free” is the most extensive incarcerator in the world, worse than Russia and China combined.

Simpson’s bill, even if passed, would only be a step in the right direction. Meaningful policy reform must sweep across the federal government, stopping this war on its own citizens by addressing the drug crisis as a public health phenomena. Until then, money will be funneled across the border, killing thousands and further perpetuating the spread of drugs.

It’s time we moved past draconian laws that punish non-violent offenders. While legalization doesn’t suit all illicit drugs, even the staunch conservative Simpson can appreciate the benefits.

“Putting people in prison and teaching them a whole lot about crime, separating them from the family, taking away the breadwinners simply for possessing a plant that God made — that’s wrong,” Simpson said, according to The Houston Chronicle. “I don’t know anyone who’s run off the road because of marijuana. I do know people who have fallen asleep because they ate too much.”

Opinion columnist Jake Drake is a communications sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].


  • Response to negative
    comments by Cynthia Ridgeway and Terrie Mogavero against David Simpsons bill:

    First off, you gals are all mad taking it out on Simpson
    because you can’t get support on your “Synthetic Marijuana bill”. But it’s your
    own faults. That was the dumbest name you could have picked for that drug
    (Synthetic Marijuana). First off the whole country is legalizing Marijuana.
    Second off the drug your speaking of has more similarities with Heroine than
    Marijuana. Why didn’t you all name it “Synthetic Heroine” or “smokeable
    heroine” if you wanted to get it banned. And I even agree that it should be
    banned. That stuff (actually called Herbal Incents until you changed the name)
    ruins anyone who smokes it once

    OK. Medical Benefits. Our Central Nervous System was created
    by God complete with an entire Endocannabanoid receptor network to attached to
    the Cannabis molecules. These Cannabis molecules are quoted by medical
    clinicians and molecular scientists as 1) the least toxic/harmful drug on
    Earth, 2) clinical studies in Spain over 10 years conducted on small animals
    show Cannabis actually destroys and removes cancer tumors from subjects brains,
    breasts, testicles, pancreas, etc, and 3) there are an estimated 500 different Cannabinoids in Cannabis.
    Most/many seem to be medicines. Cannabis has the greatest number of medicines
    to treat the greatest number of human illnesses on Earth

    So we’re NOT just “medical attributes” as you call it. I
    urge you to study Cannabis. Learn. You may find you WANT IT in the schools, and
    for your children to take it. Especially if they are sick

    Regarding the potency of your Gramma’s weed at Woodstock.
    Cannabis/Marijuana has been smoked by humans for probably as long as there has
    been Humans. We are NOT the first humans to figure out how to cross breed
    certain strains to increase potency my dear. There’s a variety as wide as the grand
    canyon of this plant and its’ potency. Always has been for thousands of years

    Clinical trials don’t scratch the surface of the number of
    humans that could medically benefit from Cannabis and its’ medicines. There are
    nowhere near enough clinical trial seats and you know it

    Marijuan is NOT more addictive than alcohol. I personally
    stopped smoking it voluntarily after 30 years of use and had no problems quitting
    whatsoever. In that time I helped build 7 IT companies, one of which was my own
    which was INC500 and sold for multi-million cash+stock deal (so much for
    Marijuana making you unproductive). Alcohol is proven to be highly addictive.
    And Alcohol (unlike Marijuana) will and does kill you

    “Common sense dictates that
    increased availability will increase use, dependency and abuse”. Funny thing
    about common sense…it aint all that common, babe. As for your National Research
    Council. Everyone knows studying of Marijuana has been outlawed federally for
    70+ years now. The only studies had to be approved by the DEA/DHHS/NIDA/FDA, so
    had to be willing to find bad things and publish against Marijuana. You have to
    go outside the USA to find accurate studies. That’s what you get for outlawing

    0.3% of prison inmates??? Try
    75,000 kids/yr arrested/jailed for simple possession here in Texas alone.
    Uprooted from their families, neighborhoods and churches where they were loved
    and put in a jail cell for up to 6 months to rot and undo their parents hard
    work as they learn from jail cell mates. How would you like this done to your
    child?? Do you have any idea how damaging that is to a kid?

    Colorado results have conclusively proven a
    1) “significant reduction in crime”, 2) no increase in usage in children, 3) no
    increase traffic risks of accidents. Please stop making stuff up and read once
    in a while

    Regarding the Republican stance on Marijuana.
    Republican values as created by our party’s founders Abraham Lincoln &
    Thomas Jefferson are; 1) free market
    capitalism, 2) strong national defense, 3) oppose regulation/labor unions, 4) liberty
    for all, 5) limited government, 6) conservative social policies

    Liberty means you do not control your
    neighbor, and your neighbor does not control you. You do not dictate what
    plants they grow or what they do with them. And limited government means you
    don’t hand a giant bill to the taxpayers to build expansive government controls
    over those aspects of liberty…exactly as David Simpson said

    Prices of Marijuana plummeted in the legal
    Marijuana states (so wrong again). And our government also should not
    regulate/criminalize ivy, bull
    nettle and oleander, same as Marijuana

    Finally re: Texans living
    in an altered state of mind. You are obviously a Nanny state Liberal. You wish
    to dictate what state of mind others live in. Abe Lincoln is rolling over in
    his grave when you say your Republican

    Cynthia Ridgeway and
    Terrie Mogavero. Please study more and speak out less until you know what
    you’re talking about. Thank you

    • All that is missing is the fact that the biggest reason Police departments are against legalization is that their budgets rely heavily on “drug war” grants, seizing drug money, and boost their arrest numbers, legal term “Goals” aka QUOTAS

      How else are they supposed to justify the enormous amount of personel that we could do without?

      • I suppose my documentary suggestion never made the edit. “The House we Live in” is a magnificent work (available on netflix) that goes into more detail than I ever could on this topic exactly. Definitely check that out if you’re looking for more!

  • Thank you for sharing this! We need to end the War on Drugs. Legalize and Regulate all drugs and collect big data on drug users, then get them the help they need. Mental health and physical help. Sending drug addicts to jail is immoral and counter productive. We need #MillennialChange now, who is with us? #MillennialDemocrats #CumbredelasAmericas

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