Now that Colorado has legalized the recreational sales of marijuana, activists in Texas are planning to make a push for a move toward legalization here when the Legislature meets in 2015, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Cheyanne Weldon, who is the head of the Texas Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says by the time the Legislature meets in January, they'll be able to see how successful the Colorado experiment has been as a tax revenue generator for the state.
And I think there will probably be a handful of states we will be able to look at between now and then, before it comes here," Weldon said.
She says the experiments in Colorado and Washington will also allow lawmakers to see whether the social costs of legalization, in terms of more drug addictions, more marijuana involved traffic accidents and so forth, has been larger than the tax benefits of legalization, as many opponents have predicted.
"Is there an increase in stoned driving and accidents, or has there been a decrease in violence and accidents, those types of things," he said.
She predicts that the amount of revenue which is obtainable from the legal sale of marijuana to the public will be hard for Texas lawmakers to ignore.
To those who say that Texas is 'too conservative' to support marijuana legalization, Nathan Jones of the Baker Institute at Rice University says that conservatisism comes with a strong libertarian streak.
"And that libertarian tendency is suggesting that a legal market that the government can essentially regulate would be better than leaving it in the hands of organized crime," Jones said.
He said conservatives also support finding tax revenue from 'willing payers,' like marijuana customers would be, rather than raising taxes on business, citizens, or commercial activity.
"There is definitely going to be a major legislative push in 2015,"Jones predicted. "It could be a full push to legalization, or it could simply be medical marijuana, which is seen as the first step toward full legalization," he said.