What was once called “America’s Paper of Record,” and “The Grey Lady,” The New York Times went one toke over the line Sunday, calling in a rare editorial by the entire Editorial Board for the federal government to legalize marijuana.
In an article titled, “Repeal Prohibition Again,” the authors say Congresses ban of marijuana is as ineffective and ill-advised as the prohibition of alcohol was in 1920. They promise to publish articles in the coming days that examine the relevant questions and issues surrounding marijuana’s decriminalization.
Texas has not been left entirely out of the dialogue heretofore.
In January Governor Rick Perry called for softening the penalties for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. He was quoted in the Austin Statesman saying, “What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and that’s what we’ve done over the last decade.”
Veteran prosecutor and current Democratic candidate for the office of District Attorney in Harris County, Kim Ogg has introduced what she calls a plan to save taxpayers millions of dollars, free up police department to focus more time and effort on violent crimes, and save a generation of Houstonians from having a criminal record for doing something that most Americans don’t think should be a crime. In October of last year, Gallup published a poll that showed for the first time ever that the majority of Americans (58%) think marijuana should be legalized. The sea change has come from Independent voters, while Republicans remain opposed (35% support legalization).
“In the last seven years this D.A.’s office has arrested almost 100,000 people for possession of misdemeanor amounts of marijuana,” says Ogg. “Last year it cost taxpayers over $10,000,000.”
Current Harris County DA Devon Anderson responded with a written statement indicating agreement with Ogg’s general premise and promising a more comprehensive policy position paper to come.
Rice University Professor of Public Policy William Martin says the majority of Texans say marijuana should be legal.
Texans proudly tout their known positions of low taxes and fewer regulations. Time will tell if that Texas type thinking is extended to marijuana as well.