Texas Democratic Party endorses decriminalization of marijuana - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Texas Democratic Party endorses decriminalization of marijuana

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The Texas Democratic Party has come out in support of the decriminalization of marijuana. But republicans say this is just the democrats' way of trying to gain young voters before the upcoming election.

The Texas Democratic Party's 2012 platform includes the decriminalization of marijuana and calls for "wiser law enforcement."

"The Texas Democratic Party does not condone the use of marijuana. Our platform simply recognizes that laws currently in place do nothing to promote public safety or fiscal responsibility. We are calling for policies that are smart on crime and will transition non-violent individuals from jail and into treatment," said Rebecca Acuna, a spokesperson for the Texas Democratic Party, in a statement.

Texas NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, has been working with the Texas Democratic Party on the platform.

"What we're trying to promote is a change in the laws so people who choose to use marijuana aren't arrested, prosecuted and put in jail for it," says Josh Schimberg with Texas NORML.

But, the Republican Party of Texas believes there's a reason this is all coming out now. It's a disingenuous move to try to win favor from young voters in an election year," says Chris Elam, with the Republican Party of Texas.

He adds that his party supports the continued enforcement of current drug laws.

"The restrictions that are there are important to our country, we believe they're important to the public to maintain those laws," said Elam.

While decriminalizing marijuana may not happen soon in Texas, the move by the Texas Democratic Party certainly has some support.

"They want to see change. We want to see change obviously. I think we can make it happen," Schimberg says.

According to the Texas Democratic Party, the cost of dealing with the war on drugs concerning marijuana exceeds $12 billion annually. The party is urging the President, Attorney General and Congress to support the decriminalization of the possession of marijuana.

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