Democrats Push to Decriminalize Possession of Marijuana

By: KGBT Action 4 News

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Uploaded on June 19, 2012 by KGBT Action 4 News Powered by YouTube

Bill McMillin of Brownsville recalled Tuesday, his time as a high school student in the late 70s to early 80s. He said many laws have changed in the past 20 years, especially when it comes to the criminal punishment for possession of marijuana. "In high school and stuff, if you got caught with a couple joints or half ounce or whatever, they really didn't do (anything), they just let it go you know," McMillin said. "Things have changed, they're getting so strict on things. They're sending people to prison for petty stuff." The Texas Democratic Party seems to agree with McMillin. One of the issues they are urging the President, Attorney General and Congress to support this year, is the decriminalization of the possession of marijuana, and regulate it's use like alcohol and tobacco. State Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said the party is not pushing for the legalization of marijuana, but adds that current laws are negatively affecting too many young people that get busted with small amounts of the drug. "You shouldn't put a criminal stigma on these young folks for the rest of their lives, and affect their ability to get jobs and their ability to have a meaningful career for using marijuana when they were young," Hinojosa said. Jose Valdivia, 35, said he was busted for marijuana possession when he was younger, and it's something that has followed him around since. "When you get a job you always have to be honest about your past," Valdivia said, "but it's something you have to live with for the rest of your life." Hinojosa and the Democratic Party said the criminalization of marijuana may also be contributing to the selling power of drug cartels and dealers. "The drug gangs in Mexico are allowed to continue to do business because they are able to transport drugs into the United States illegally," Hinojosa said. "They sit back and collect the money, while the people who buy a joint or something are going to prison," McMillin added.
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