Texas pot advocates say support is high

Texas marijuana advocates say they are optimistic after voters in two other states approved the legalization of small amounts for personal use.

“We’re encouraged and more convinced than ever we will eventually prevail,” David Sloane, spokesman for the Dallas-Forth Worth branch of the advocacy group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said of the Nov. 6 votes in Washington and Colorado. “Prohibition is far more harmful to our communities than marijuana ever will be, and taxpayers are sick of their money being used to support failed drug policy.”

Howard Wooldridge, who helped found Law Enforcement Against Prohibition in 2003, noted there is still stiff opposition to changing marijuana laws, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported Sunday.

A former police officer, Wooldridge said continuing marijuana prohibition takes resources away from more crucial police work and helps fuel a drug war south of the American border, but added few officers are willing to put their careers at risk by saying it on the record.

“You have powerful money trying to keep things the way they are. The strongest opponents [to legalization] are in the police and criminal justice industry,” he said.

The risks of marijuana usage are outweighed by legalization’s benefits, said Betty Aldworth of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, noting Colorado’s expected $48 million annual income from taxing marijuana sales, and the creation of 6,000 new jobs from its medical marijuana industry.

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