Polls show Texans disapprove of recent loss of nearly $1 billion due to marijuana policy
Texans are overwhelmingly disapproving of how Texas lost almost $1 billion in 2013. A combination of recent figures and polling data paints a political picture which strongly contrasts with the political opinions of Texans.
It all comes down to one subject as well, marijuana laws.
Local and state authorities in Texas spent an estimated $746 million combined on arresting marijuana offenders in 2013.
With a total of 71,761 arrests, in which it is estimated that it costs an average of $10,400 each for prosecution and incarceration, the sum for keeping a non-toxic plant illegal which has been legalized in other states is staggering.
Combine that with the conservative estimate of $166 million, the figure which the State of Texas stands to earn from legalizing cannabis, the net gain comes out to $912 million across the board. This does not take into account new incomes for individuals which would increase the sales tax base. There would also be new businesses, meaning more jobs, meaning even more lost revenue.
Some groups, such as Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), estimate that marijuana will be legal in Texas within five years, possibly even sooner.
A coalition of groups including MPP, Drug Policy Alliance, and various non-profit sub-chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws have previously stated that they are pushing a minimum of three bills in the 2015 legislative session, including medical marijuana, penalty reduction, and full legalization. However, a recent statement from Max Davidson, who is a representative of DFW NORML, claims that there will not be a legalization bill because no one would author it and that “full legalization was hurting our decriminalization and medical marijuana efforts.”
They’ve also hired a lobbyist to speak with legislators on the matter.
Recent polling shows that only 23 percent of Texans want to keep the plant completely illegal. Support for medical marijuana stands at 86 percent and two-thirds of all doctors support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.
Texas also boasts the third most cannabis consumers in the nation, with an estimated 1.3 million people consuming marijuana on a regular basis.