Tomlinson: The time has come for Texas to legalize marijuana — and decriminalize much more

American companies sell thousands of products that harm consumers, create addictions and generate health care costs for society-at-large, all in the name of personal liberty.

Legalizing marijuana, therefore, is completely consistent. Texas should follow the lead of 15 other states that have realized cost-savings and community benefits from legalization that far outweigh the downsides.

The first step, as they say, is to free your mind.

Almost every year for the past decade, some U.S. jurisdiction somewhere has loosened access to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot. Most states started by allowing medical marijuana, then reduced the penalties for possession and many are now legalizing THC completely.

Fifty-three percent of voters in conservative South Dakota last month legalized marijuana for adult recreational use.

Texas is one of 27 states that allows use of marijuana products for medical purposes. Only five states and the federal government forbid any use of cannabis. President-elect Joe Biden supports decriminalization, which makes possession a civil violation, like a speeding ticket.

Laws forbidding marijuana have never made sense in a country where alcohol and tobacco are legal. Excessive drinking costs the U.S. about 95,000 lives and $156 billion a year, while tobacco-related deaths total 480,000 a year, with illnesses costing the country $300 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control. [Read More @ The Houston Chronicle]

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