Opinion: What’s Taking Texas So Long To Legalize Marijuana?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or values of Townsquare Media or its affiliates.
Last night, states like New Jersey, Arizona and South Dakota joined 12 other states in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The trend toward legalization has been growing for several years now and it makes one wonder why other states like Texas aren't following suit.
I just came back from spending time in 2 states where recreational use has been legalized: California and Colorado this summer. I distinctly remember visiting Trinidad Colorado, a town near the New Mexico/Colorado border. I talked to residents there about the effect "recreational weed" has had on their town and they said that thanks to "weed tourists", the town has experienced a "resurgence" and growth like never before.
According to Westword, Colorado has seen over A BILLION DOLLARS in sales since the pandemic began and Trinidad, for example, was able to use taxes from those sales to provide help and services to residents in need during the pandemic.
The southern Colorado town, less than fifteen miles from the New Mexico border, has used $100,000 in marijuana tax revenue from Trinidad's 25 dispensaries to provide utility stipends for residents, along with $300,000 for rent and utility relief for local businesses and $100,000 for extra funding split between the town's hospital and the Las Animas County Health Department to fight COVID-19. - via Westword
Now imagine, how many small depressed towns in Texas could use an economic boost like that? Instead, we continue to focus on criminalizing and arresting people for it here in Texas.
While "hemp" has been legalized and some Texas cities have stopped prosecuting people for carrying small amounts of weed, its time to end the "stigma" associated with weed as 'a gateway' to other drugs and join the rest of the nation because we're missing on BILLLIONS of DOLLARS that we could be using to improve things in our state.
Or keep letting all the smokers take their dollars elsewhere.