Texas Democrats recently released their party's platform for 2012. Their platform included a better focus on education, strengthening small businesses, improving wages and working conditions, and decriminalizing the use of marijuana. This last part is especially interesting to me. In 1994, a poll was taken to determine Texans' attitude of what they thought was the most important issue to address concerning the state. The second most substantial issue that Texans in 1994 were fretting about was drugs, the illegal use of controlled substances, totaling 17% of the Texas population. The same poll was taken in 2000, and drugs only totaled up to 8% of Texans' worries. Now, in 2012, an entire party campaigning for upcoming elections advocates for the decriminalization of marijuana and over 50% of the American population believes marijuana should be decriminalized. I am in agreement with the Democratic party for this particular issue. By decriminalizing the use of marijuana, it'll allow law enforcement to use their time more efficiently for the greater good for more heinous crimes. Also, by decriminalizing marijuana, that'll address the issue of the drug cartels reigning from Mexico and creating catastrophic corruption while crossing into our borders just for money, power, and ensuring a supply and demand for Americans' marijuana desires. If we decriminalize it, it may prevent some violence occurring between the United States and Mexico from the drug cartels. Since the War on Drugs began, citizens of the United States pay $12 billion annually just for criminalizing marijuana. Also, 85% of the arrests regarding marijuana have just been for possession, alone. The Democrats state, "There is no evidence that marijuana is a 'gateway' drug leading to the use of more lethal drugs." Of the population arrested for marijuana, 75% is under the age of 30. Which means, a good majority of those arrested for the use of marijuana is being convicted at a young age and will never overcome this major setback once they are released and need to face the outside world and find a job. That conviction will remain on that individual's record from their youth and will damage their integrity, worth, and self-respect when attempting to find a prestigious and well-respected job. Although, Texas will probably be the last state to instill this Democratic reform to its policy due to its predominantly Republican and conservative perspective of any drug, the fact that Democratic Texans are advocating for this unique and controversial policy reform is astounding and gives me hope. Our prisons are already overcrowded enough, it's time to lighten the inmate list by releasing those that are convicted of charges related to marijuana.