It's 4:20 p.m. on April 20. We decided not to let this opportunity go up in smoke, nip this story in the bud, and use this joint to hash out the state of the laws in Texas that criminalize various aspects of possessing, obtaining, or otherwise transferring marijuana. (Yes. We did).
According to the folks over at The Weed Blog, marijuana can get you into a ton of trouble. (We ran out of obvious, bad puns. Well, we kinda spaced on 'em).
According to their summary, offenses generally cover possession and/or distribution, start as low as a Class B misdemeanor and go up to outright felonies, with penalties ranging from 180 days in jail with $2,000 fine, all the way up to prison terms of 99 years, and fines of $100,000. The Weed Blog does link to the public listing of the law, which may be found here. It's the Texas Health and Safety Code.
The Weed Blog also details the efforts of local Congressman Lamar Smith to block legalization of marijuana. As you can see from the headline, they pull no punches in their opinion of Smith.Not everyone, however, opposes marijuana like Smith. In fact, there is a fair grass roots (no pun intended, swear) movement to legalize the drug and cultivate (ok, that one, we meant) a higher public consciousness about it, its effects, its costs, and the like. At the national level, there is a group called The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Texas, as it turns out, also has such a chapter.
Find out what they're up to below the jump.By their own reckoning, the mission of Texas NORML is:
“[T]o move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.”
Their website has facts, figures, and even merchandise. They organize, they lobby, they meet up (8:00 PM every first Wednesday at The Flamingo Cantina, 515 E 6th St in Austin, Texas, they say), and they even hold parades. According to the site, the Texas Marijuana March is being held on May 5, 2012, from 12:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. April 20 may have been a more auspicious date for such a parade, so why didn't they get that? This clip might provide some insight.
For those who want more information on marijuana itself, Wikipedia always has a reliable entry. And for more information on the economic effects and revenue generating potential of legalizing marijuana, Slate did a pretty good write-up in 2009 that can be found here.
It's high time we ended this piece, so in short, the prospect of marijuana being legal to possess, buy, sell, etc. in the state of Texas any time soon is a pipe dream.