Since I’ve started studying criminal laws in the United States, I’ve been intrigued by the sweeping support—or lack thereof—for marijuana use. Canada just recently legalized recreational marijuana use as well, and everyone up here is pretty excited about it. I see that there’s a handful of states in America that have done the same, but Texas stood out to me as one of the stricter states on the issue.
It seems that Texas is fighting to decriminalize the drug because, in the past, they’ve had some of the strictest laws. One woman got arrested for a first-time marijuana possession charge when she was twenty-one and she’s still paying for her mistake years later. She consulted a Dallas criminal lawyer to support her through the ordeal. Even though she’s married with kids now, the charge still haunts her.
Reduce First-Offense Penalties
New bills are in place in the state of Texas to try to reduce penalties for first-time offenders found with small amounts of marijuana. Some government officials are trying to get rid of penalties for small amounts of marijuana all together; however, there are some people fighting against the bills because they think allowing this possession or lessening the penalties will only increase other crime rates.
In urban counties, such as Dallas County, district attorneys have already pledged not to take on convictions for petty crimes, such as small marijuana possessions. It’s important for prosecutors in big cities to free up their time for more violent crimes that will keep the city safe and reduce future violence.
Rural police are more likely to be strict on petty crimes because they have more time to criminalize these crimes. Essentially, the police are bored, but this shouldn’t be a reason to ruin someone’s future over something so menial.
No Consensus Yet
While there’s no statewide consensus yet on whether marijuana will be decriminalized, the majority of officials are in support of the motion. With the rest of the country moving toward the decriminalization and legalization of the drug, it’s only a matter of time before Texas follows suit.
By putting strict laws on marijuana, taxpayers and governments are throwing valuable dollars away that could be used on much more necessary items. Hopefully, Texas will make the change soon and the citizens who have been paying the price for their petty crimes will be released of a heavy burden.