This week, Canadian lawmakers voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Our northern neighbors are only the second country in the world to legalize marijuana. This poses a question: are times changing? In their recently adopted party platform, Texas Republicans endorsed medical marijuana, cannabis decriminalization and industrial hemp.
Frank Snyder, a law professor at Texas A&M University says that Canada’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana use will most likely affect the United States’ position on pot.
“Canada is a G7 nation and culturally, although this might offend some Canadians, it is the closest country to the U.S.,” Snyder says. “I think having a neighboring state, a member of NAFTA, and a highly respected government take this step is bound to send a signal to many people who are on the fence that maybe legalization is not that much of a disaster that everyone is worried about.”
Last week at the Texas GOP convention, Republicans endorsed the legalization of medical marijuana and decriminalization. Snyder says that many Texas Republicans have libertarian beliefs, and that a “leave me alone in my own house” attitude, as well as the potential economic benefits led the GOP to endorse cannabis.
“Hemp is potentially a big crop in Texas and governments are always looking for more money,” Snyder says.
Snyder says that Texas is closer to legalizing recreational marijuana than ever, but it will still take a while.
“I seriously doubt that in the next legislature we are going to see much push for it,” Snyder says. “I think Texas is going to go slow and see if decriminalization has had any effect and watch more for what’s going on in other states. But four years from now, I wouldn’t bet against the fact that we might have recreational pot here.”
Written by Haley Butler.