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Texas Democratic Party Platform: Decriminalize and Regulate Marijuana

by: Natalie San Luis

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

The Texas Democratic Party Platform reflects support for policy changes that are gaining steam among Texas citizens and both sides of the aisle.

The platform includes a section on decriminalization of marijuana, citing jails filled with non-violent criminals, the success of regulation in Colorado and Washington, and the importance of cutting off the income streams of drug cartels.

"Texas Democrats urges the President, the Attorney General and the Congress as well as the Texas Legislature to support the passage of legislation to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and regulate its use, production, and sale as is done with tobacco and alcohol," the platform reads.

Read more about decriminalization measures after the jump.

At the state level, Texans who have voiced modest to enthusiastic support for marijuana decriminalization, medical marijuana legalization, or recreational marijuana legalization include Rick Perry, Wendy Davis, and Willie Nelson, along with Republican organization RAMP and several other grassroots groups.

The resources poured into arresting individuals who use a substance less risky than tobacco and alcohol are immense. According to the Texas Democratic Party platform, "Our current penal marijuana laws give power, control, and illicit funding to violent Drug Cartels. The laws destroy young lives with a criminal record and possible prison incarceration. Such harsh laws serve no useful purpose. Such prohibition promotes disrespect for the law and reinforces ethnic and generational divides between the public and law enforcement."

But despite widespread, bipartisan support for decriminalization among voters, many Republican leaders are unwilling to consider the benefits of changing Texas' drug laws.

The Texas Republican Party Platform, in fact, hardly mentioned policies relating to addictive substances.

"We oppose legalization of illicit drugs" is the platform's stance on decriminalization in its entirety.

The GOP platform also opposes syringe exchange programs, which are crucial public health measures necessary to prevent disease spread among both drug users and non-users.

The Texas Democratic Party Platform recommends that the Texas Legislature study the effects of Colorado's and Washington's drug laws as a first step to re-examining Texas' policies.

Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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