Drug Reform

 

 Marijuana Decriminalization Medical Marijuana
 Marijuana Legalization Hemp 

The ‘war on drugs’ started back in the 1980’s and has continued for the last 30 years.  Due to the 2008 recession legislators found themselves with limited budgets and over crowded prisons. They began looking for cost-effective solutions to save taxpayers money, lower incarceration rates and deliver public safety services.  The majority of the incarcerated were in prison due to minor drug offenses that were non violent.

States began to look at drug reform as civil offense, not a criminal offense, and legalized small amounts of marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes.  At the same time states regulated marijuana like they would alcohol and began applying regulation policies as well as taxes to offset government revenues.

Houston taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the federal government for non violent drug offenders because politicians in Washington aren’t willing to listen to communities issues.  We believe that this topic should include a process where community members share opinions and facts alongside healthcare and public safety professionals. Taxpayers should be allowed to vote on the subject with a clear understanding of what other cities are doing and how a policy such as this could impact cities within the metropolitan area. Ultimately, we should approach this issue like any other public policy: objectively and with multiple solutions.

Problems:

Minors and Other Alcohol Offenses

  • 1st offense: License suspension for 30 days.
  • 2nd offense: License suspension for 60 days.
  • 3rd offense: License suspension for 180 days.

Adults

  • 90 day suspension if the adult’s driving record shows no alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contact during the 10 years preceding the date of the person’s arrest
  • 1 year of drivers license suspension for adults if the driving record shows one or more alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contacts during the 10 years preceding the date of the person’s arrest

Solutions:

  • Make evidence-based programs for rehabilitation more accessible
  • Decrease the penalties for possession of small amounts of drugs; impose fines rather than imprisonment
  • Institute rehabilitation programs with proven effectiveness through the mental health system
  • Amend the Texas constitution to remove the suspension of drivers license for drug-alcohol related convictions
  • Amend the Texas constitution to remove the $125 fee for reinstating a drives license and replace it with the general fee
  • Legalize prescription heroin and other drugs that require needles to combat the growth of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis similar to other industrialized countries

Texas Constitution
Code – Transportation
Chapter – 524 Administrative Suspension of Drivers License for Failure to Pass Test for Intoxication
Section – 524.022 Period of Suspension
Section – 525.051 Reinstatement and Reissuance

 

ACLU of Texas – Drug Policy

These Five States Could Legalize Marijuana in 2016

NORML – State by State comparison of Marijuana Reform

Forbes – Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal

CATO – Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies

Drug Policy in Portugal: The Benefits of Decriminalizing Drug Use

Drug laws around the world – does anyone get it right?

Huffington Post – World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalizing Personal Drug Use

ACLU – Texas Police Have a Drug Problem and Black Texans are Paying for it.

Brazilian Supreme Court Seriously Considering Decriminalizing Weed, All Illegal Drugs

How Ireland’s New Drug Policy Is Making the UK’s Attitudes Look Ancient

The Vox – The case for prescription heroin