UPDATED: Cannabis, Texas: How Close Are We to Legalization in the Lone Star State?


4779230113_e81730dd5c.jpg
Photo by abbybatchelder via flickr

The 2013 polls show that the majority of Texans support legalization or decriminalization of cannabis.
According to major polls conducted in Texas, 58 percent of Texans support outright legalization, and 79 percent of Texans oppose jail time for marijuana possession. That basically summarizes the collective viewpoint of Texans on marijuana policy for 2013, and it clearly shows support for some sort of marijuana reform. Not too shabby for our conservative state, now is it.

8455149100_45bd628ec5_n.jpg
Photo by Cannabis Culture via flickr
Groups like Texas NORML and MPP, or Marijuana Policy Project, that lobby for cannabis reform at a state and national level, grew exponentially during 2013.

From the High Times Doobie Awards in Austin to the Texas Regional NORML Conference, there were more than 100 cannabis events in Texas during 2013.

NORML expanded into new territory, with chapters opening in El Paso and Lubbock, bringing the total number of NORML advocacy groups in Texas to 13, and the number of cannabis organizations in Texas to at least 15. They also created the Patient Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, along with Austin 420, to provide outreach, education, patient empowerment, and advocacy for medical marijuana use.


The United States v. Hemp Farming came to a head.
Hemp prohibition began back in the late 1930's, when Congress banned the "violent and dangerous drug." In reality, though, hemp -- the actual hemp plant, not the marijuana misnomer -- is nothing more than a plant related to marijuana by way of the Cannabaceae plant family. It's also probably one of the most useful fibers in the world, and it contains a very low THC content -- about 0.3 percent -- and cannot be used to get high. It's still illegal, though, despite the actual facts that prove the illegitimacy of those "violent and dangerous" claims.

In June 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on an amendment to the annual agriculture bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp. Removing the ban on hemp would be a major milestone for farmers, as hemp is extremely easy to grow, great for aerating the soil, and is used in multiple industries within the United States. We use a ton of it in this country, but it all has to be imported due to the restrictions on growing it.

Ultimately, the bill failed with a final count of 195 to 234, due in part to the majority of Texas House representatives voting against it, with some claiming that the passage of the bill would make the war on drugs more difficult, since hemp physically resembles marijuana.

There's a bright side, though. Out of the 36 Texas representatives in the U.S. House, 10 logical, educated representatives voted for it. Here they are, in case you'd like to send them a card made of hemp or something for a job well done.

Joaquin Castro (D)
Henry R. Cuellar (D)
John Culberson (R)
Lloyd Doggett (D)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (D)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)
Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (D)
Ted Poe (R)
Steve Stockman (R)
Filemon Vela (D)


Law enforcement showed signs of solidarity with the legalization movement.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo stated that his priority is violent crime, not marijuana. He confirmed support for Attorney General Eric Holder's stance on mandatory minimums as well. Lubbock's police chief was receptive to the new NORML chapter in his city. Waco officials are considering a removal of the highly ineffective DARE program.

LEAP, or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a nonprofit organization of criminal justice professionals who "bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies," openly rallies for policy change of marijuana laws.

All in all, Texas showed some real progress in regard to marijuana reform. Support for responsible cannabis use no longer causes a quick political death for Texas politicians, which means things are definitely on the right track. And we all know we're cooler than some of the other states, with our Panhandle and all, so chances are good we'll continue to make progress in our own ways. Will we be the next Colorado? Probably not, but there are sure signs we aren't still stuck in the weed dark ages, either.



My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
Venessa Singh
Venessa Singh

Yes please.. Take out the awkwardness of meeting a sketchy dealer

Shawn K. Quinn
Shawn K. Quinn

Pot never should have been illegal here to begin with.

Pete Nuñez
Pete Nuñez

More tax revenue, less jail/prison time, more jobs, less drunk driving, more happy people. Fckn do it!

Lila Quintero
Lila Quintero

Make pot legal. See Jane smoke pot. See Jane's boss drug test Jane. See Jane get fired for smoking pot. :/

Raulitoway Valdes
Raulitoway Valdes

Perry won't ever let that happen. If we want this to happen we need to pay attention to voting the right judges, chief officer, mayors, city council officials, state officials and of course the governer. Excuse my misspelling grammar nazi.

Mary Walker
Mary Walker

All four candidates for Lt. Governor at the debate last night said they were staunchly against decriminalizing marijuana. If you truly want this to happen- you should know who you are voting for.

David Weiss Jr.
David Weiss Jr.

not yes but HELL YES!! i say criminalize alcohol and make pot legal!!!

kyradebbie2
kyradebbie2

"Hemp physically resembles…" a flowering hibiscus stalk, just with different flowers.

cheyanne1973
cheyanne1973

I see why you removed the word use in this instance "Here are the folks who have been working their political tails off to advocate for marijuana use policy reform:"


I've spoken with Senator Rodriguez and heard him speak on this issue, he has clarified that he is not promoting use, but I don't think this statement refers to use, it's about reforming laws, which he is absolutely supporting: "Rodriguez also became the first of the 31 Texas State Senators to voice his support of the cannabis reform movement, which is super awesome."


Thanks for the great review!

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

Maybe you should stop eating out your mum so you could read & think clearly.

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

You haven't been paying much attention to what has been transpiring here in the Mile High or in WA state, have ya? Who do you think is cashing in big time courtesy of legalization in these states? Silly DWEEB.

Jose Martinez
Jose Martinez

Think all the money folks in high places will lose with legalization. No more cuts or looking the other way for shipments coming in. Yup well be the last state fo sho!

Jimmy Jeudi
Jimmy Jeudi

I thought it read cannibalism for a moment haha

okeenans
okeenans

I am a T12 burst fracture w/T.B.I. Traumatic Brain injury . Back on so many highly addictive legal drugs with ups an downs. soon after me accident when I was able to think for me self. a friend ofmine in Cali. said there were a lot of people benefitting from this plant without pills

ssoso hhehe sent me some specific seed strains for me conditions I started growing me own meds for more than 10 years without taking pills

this plant heals not kills with no side effects why cant we practice FREEDOM OF CHOICE which me for father's have fought for since the beginning of time. I AM TEXANS FOR MEDICINAL CANNABIS ACCESS ON FACEBOOK please join an let's end marijuana prohibition.  its mother nature's best medicine we've outlawed  an people are dying. please show compassion an free the leaf,Blessings One love


 

dennis0865
dennis0865

Also I would like to add that the drug(GABAPENTIN) that is prescribed for M.S....... specifically (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) are very toxic to the human body. Also these drugs have a tremendous potential for creating suicidal episodes due to the mental side effects. So I fry my liver and wait until I lose it and hang myself again out of despair or I just keep on deteriorating in a most painful manner. I hope all you compassionate conservatives can remember to help some of us who ARE in pain are going to jail for relieving our pain while you are letting the little rich kids get away with murder and inflict pain. Texas , I've been a faithful son for nearly fifty years and you always let me down.

dennis0865
dennis0865

What's so surprising to me is that the political party of "Big Gov.t stay away from my personal affairs and business" are so eager to be the first ones to impose their values and morals upon another person by authority of law over a personal choice. Especially considering that the entire ban on the substance is/was based on pure lies and misinformation. The result has been yet another bloody prohibition against the constitutional rights of freeborn consenting adults to do as they wish in their own homes even though there is no harm to the public for this activity. I have M.S. I would love to be able to just sit in the breeze on the porch and relax w/ whatever life  I have left. However it seems that the evil religious proselytizers are hell bent to force every one to choose between consuming a harmless natural herbal remedy or the synthetic poison that the pill pushers are peddling that is killing people left and right. Some how these people are still hypnotized to believe that prescription drugs are harmless and natural drugs are killers.

Puller58
Puller58

What should be a factor is the prospect for helping take some of the wind out of the sails of the drug cartels in Mexico.  If you can take the profitability out of pot smuggling, perhaps that might make a difference.

tenmen
tenmen

there are just to many rich, homophobic, racist, right wing Christians  in Texas to ever get legalization on a ballot. I am still in awe that we have liquor by the drink and lotto. The legislature is controlled by their money as well as those large corporations seeking a tax free environment to work in. NULLIFICATION is our best option, if you are chosen for a jury of possession then just say  NOT GUILTY!!  Famous words from the first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay.

Anse
Anse

It will be interesting to see how the business community stands on this issue. It's well-known that the oil and gas industry has occasionally faced problems with hiring due to the failure rate of the standard pre-employment drug screen. With the Eagle Ford booming and the importance of this industry to the Texas economy, will they have any negative influence on the legalization movement? And when will the private sector as a whole get wise and stop screening for marijuana as a condition of employment? 

cheyanne1973
cheyanne1973

No one is being arrested or having their children taken away for gambling, no one is being denied a natural substance for treating illness because there aren't casinos... they are completely different arguments and reasons for changing laws. It's not just a freedom to do something that people want to do (like gambling) it's harm reduction for negative consequences affecting Texans (unlike gambling).

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Health & Beauty

General

Loading...