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Law Texas

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Texas marijuana decriminalization bill clears legislative hurdle

AUSTIN, Texas — A bill that would make carrying small amounts of marijuana a civil penalty in Texas instead of a criminal one is advancing in the state House.

The House Criminal Jurisprudence committee on Monday approved a bill that would make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana punishable by a fine of up to $250 instead of a criminal charge. A person also could not be arrested solely for possession of the small amount of pot.

A third violation would increase the fine to $500 as a Class C misdemeanor, though.

The bill now advances to the full House for consideration and its prospects are uncertain.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has previously warned the state won’t legalize marijuana for recreational or medicinal while he’s in office.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Despite unprecedented momentum, Texas rejects marijuana legislative reform

Marijuana reform advocates say there was unprecedented support for their efforts in this year’s legislative session, but the majority of Texas lawmakers still weren’t ready to change state law.

This legislative session, bills addressing medical cannabis and decriminalization once again died at the state Capitol despite having bipartisan support.

House Bill 2107, authored by state Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, would have given safe access to medical cannabis by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions listed in the bill. Licensed physicians registered with the Department of Public Safety would have been able to recommend — not prescribe — marijuana to these seriously ill patients. Although it earned 77 bipartisan co-authors after its committee hearing, the bill never made it to the House floor for a vote.

“We are going to see a lot more families leave the state of Texas over the next 18 months with children who have neurological disorders. They will move to other states where they can get treatment,” said Rep. Jason Isaac, a Republican from Dripping Springs and one of the co-authors.

Amy Lou Fawell, a member of Texas Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, or MAMMA, said multiple parents across the state worked tirelessly to change the “hearts and minds” at the Texas Capitol, and that they were crushed when the bill wasn’t even scheduled for a House debate before the deadline.

“A lot of the mothers were conservative mothers themselves. We all needed to change our hearts and minds, but when you have a sick kid, it goes a little faster. We were willing to be open about this. We’re proud and crushed at the same time because we know historic progress was done at the Capitol.”

The bill’s Senate companion, Senate Bill 269, authored by Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, was never even scheduled for a committee hearing, the first stage for bills in the legislative process.

Texas passed the Compassionate Use Act in 2015, which allows epileptic patients to use cannabidiol with low amounts of THC, the plant component that give users a high, only when federally approved drugs fail. But lawmakers say the program is too limited and that patients with cancer, autism and HIV — to name a few — would benefit from the program as well. The law in place is also flawed, advocates say, because it directs doctors to prescribe — not recommend — the strict CBD:THC ratio, which puts doctors at risk of losing their licenses since the drug is still illegal under federal law.

Isaac said the legislation’s failure shows there is still a lot of work to be done on educating lawmakers about cannabidiol, a substance derived from the marijuana plant. Because of that, Isaac said, the medical derivative suffers from the same public stigma as the recreational drug.

“It’s not legalization, it’s not recreational, it’s for expanding the Texas Compassionate Use Program to help people with more neurological disorders beyond intractable epilepsy,” Isaac said. “To help children with autism, to help adults with autism that have found relief in their seizures and their brain activity by taking something that’s got a higher level of cannabidiol.”

Isaac said some of his constituents already use the drug illegally because, they say, the legal option — strong federally approved opioids — put their autistic and epileptic children in a vegetative state.

Fawell said advocates shared with lawmakers the viral video published by Mark Zartler, showing how treatment with vaporized marijuana, while illegal, helped his 17-year-old daughter Kara Zartler, who engaged in self-injurious behavior because of her severe autism. But bills involving components of the plant depending on what a patient needs have never come this far, Fawell said, and that this momentum will be used as a jumping start for 2019.

Like the medical marijuana bill, decriminalization efforts failed but went further than they had in previous sessions.

A decriminalization bill, House Bill 81, authored by Criminal Jurisprudence Committee chairman Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, was scheduled for a vote, but lawmakers did not get to it before the midnight deadline in the House. The bill would have dramatically reduced criminal penalties for marijuana possession by eliminating any jail time or threat of arrest for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana. The offense would have been punishable with a fine of $250. It would not have generated a criminal record, but the drug would still be illegal and law enforcement would still seize it.

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act of the Health and Safety Code currently in effect, a person possessing 2 ounces or less of marijuana commits a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail. In 2015, 61,748 people were arrested for marijuana possession, according to the most recent data from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Heather Fazio, political director for Marijuana Policy Project, said thousands of Texans will be arrested from today until the next legislative session, marked for life with criminal records while wasting resources in the criminal justice system. But, Fazio pointed out, the bill made it to the House calendar this time. Last session, it never made it out of committee.

“The stakes are high,” Fazio said. “We’re talking about people’s lives, good government policy and righting the wrong that has been on the books for way too long.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. A total of 29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico allow for comprehensive medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

At later stages of the session, Isaac tried to amend language to House Bill 7, a Child Protective Services bill, to protect parental rights if they administered THC products to their child if it was in the child’s best interest. However, Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, author of last session’s Compassionate Use Act, added an amendment to protect only those parents administering low-THC cannabis valid under current law. The amendment also said Isaac’s language would be valid only if HB 2107 would pass.

“Members read the entire amendment and said, ‘This is about cannabis, this is about legalization,’” Isaac said. “There is still stigmatism by people that create fear and uncertainty when that shouldn’t be the case.”

In the meantime, Fawell said, supporters will continue to push research efforts during the interim to earn support from as many lawmakers as they can.

“After seeing our kids and our families and seeing the Zartler video, how could they not vote for us? How could it not have happened?” Fawell wondered

Once again, politicians thwarting the will of the people. See a common thread here? For all of you folks wondering how our country could have elected some of the duffuses we send to DC....its this kind of shit that makes people just want to toss the salad without regard....they just want something else beside continuation of the self-entitled political class that's taken over this country.

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/02/21/uttt-poll-support-marijuana-growing-weed-texas/
"Overall, 83 percent of Texans support legalizing marijuana for some use; 53 percent would go beyond legal medical marijuana to allow possession for any use, the poll found. Two years ago, 24 percent of Texans said no amount of marijuana should be legal for any use and another 34 percent said it should be allowed only for medical use.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Bill Introduced to Decriminalize Marijuana in Texas

Texas Representative Joe Moody introduced a bill yesterday morning calling for the decriminalization of “marihuana” possession. The proposed bill would also create “an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia.”

Under HB 334, possession of over one ounce of marijuana would still be punishable with a misdemeanor, while five pounds or more would still garner a felony charge.

Should the bill pass, police would cite the person caught in Texas with under one ounce of cannabis with a civil penalty of up to $250. It is important to note that these civil penalties for marijuana possession cannot be considered a “conviction” on someone’s criminal record.

The court can waive the civil penalty in favor of issuing up to ten hours of community service or admittance into a substance abuse education program at the judge’s discretion.

If someone is issued three separate civil offenses for marijuana possession, the fourth instance would make the accused eligible for a Class C misdemeanor charge rather than a fine.

Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) has a long history of attempting to usher in marijuana reform in Texas, having submitted a similar decriminalization bill earlier this year as well as a bill aiming to regulate industrial hemp licenses.

While his state tends to be on the tail end of progress when it comes to ending the War on Drugs, Joe Moody offers a bastion of hope for the future of reform in the Lonestar State. In an article Moody penned for the El Paso Times earlier this year, he said the following about decriminalization:

…it’s a better way to deal with this issue. Right now, Texas is spending $734 million every year on enforcement, not to mention the time and attention of police, prosecutors, and courts that could all be better spent dealing with other issues.

On top of that, the current punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Arrestees — mostly young people — are being saddled with permanent criminal records that can make them almost unemployable later.

They also face driver’s license suspensions, housing and student financial aid denials, and immigration consequences over this pettiest of petty “crimes.”​
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Texas state senator pushes for medical marijuana

A bill filed in the state senate on Friday is pushing for the expansion of medical marijuana in Texas.

State Senator Jose Menendez filed Senate Bill 79 Friday in an attempt to expand the disorders for which medical marijuana can be used.

A study done in May shows support for medical marijuana in Texas is up four percent from two years ago. However, that does not mean Senate Bill 79 will make it onto the special session agenda.

SB 79 would extend medical marijuana usage from intractable epilepsy to include post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, traumatic brain injuries and other “debilitating conditions”.

Karen Reeves, an advocate for Cannabis reform in Waco said it is a step in the right direction as support continues to grow in Texas.

“Very encouraged to hear Senator Menendez is not giving up the fight for Texas patients to have medical freedom to use medical cannabis,” Reeves said. “I’m glad he did re-file for the special session.”

But representative Hugh Shine draws on his military experience saying he won’t support legalization. He said it is a gateway to abuse.

“I have seen first-hand the ill effects of marijuana and illegal drugs in the lives of young teenagers and because of that experience, I will not be able to support that legislation,” Shine said.

Menendez a state senator out of the San Antonio area also filed Senate Bill 269 for medical cannabis reform.

Now, it is up to Governor Greg Abbot to put to bill on the agenda during the special session.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
SB 79 would extend medical marijuana usage from intractable epilepsy to include post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, traumatic brain injuries and other “debilitating conditions”.
Only patients with intractable epilepsy are allowed to have CBD (which should just be legal for everyone ffs) and no other part of the cannabis plant or any other condition can be deemed legal. Sigh.... :disgust: How is it in this day and age, with all the information out there on the benefits of cannabis, that this type of nonsensical thinking still exists? Especially against the will of the people?

But representative Hugh Shine draws on his military experience saying he won’t support legalization. He said it is a gateway to abuse.
This is disappointing to say the least. I'd love to know what those 'military experiences' were that shaped his opinion. And how they outweighed the evidence of cannabis helping against PTSD. :twocents:
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Now, I'm all for people with seizure disorders being able to get CDB oil for their treatment....but that's all that's allowed in TX and I would not call that a "Medical Cannabis Dispensary". Not by a long shot.


Texas first medical cannabis dispensary set to open in December


In just two months, Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy will be able to purchase a type of medicinal cannabis approved by the state. The dispensary itself is located outside a rural Texas town better known for its dancehalls, polka music and kolaches.

Austin mom Katie Graham, sips coffee at a café on the city’s northwest side. She’s just sent her son Elliott off on a school field trip and now nervously monitors her cell phone for texts alerting her that her son has suffered another seizure.

“There’s always a really high level of anxiety and stress. Every single moment, ever single phone call, you never know if that’s that one call from school that he’s had another seizure and so even at night we don’t sleep very well because there’s always that anxiety,” Graham explains.

Graham’s son is one of 150,000 patients, who are able to register with the state and have a doctor recommend the use of a type of cannabis oil that has high concentrations of cannabidiol or CBD and extremely low levels of THC, the psychoactive component of the marijuana plant.

“The fact that it’s right here and doctors will actually be prescribing it just gives us a huge piece of mind, so we are really excited about the offerings in Texas,” Graham says.

Graham says they enrolled Elliott in a CBD drug trial while waiting for the new law to come online and immediately saw improvements in how often his seizures were occurring.

Texas’ medical cannabis law, known as the Compassionate Use Program works like this; patients with epilepsy and a doctor’s recommendation can register with the state, which allows them to visit one of three licensed dispensaries to purchase cannabis oil. The oil must only contain 0.5 percent THC or less in order for it to be legal in the State.

The oil can either be inhaled through a vaporizer or taken sublingually.

Jose Hidalgo, is the owner of Knox Medical, the first dispensary to be licensed by the state. His company has licensed medical cannabis operations in Florida and Puerto Rico. For its Texas operation, Knox Medical chose the City of Schulenburg with a population of just under 3-thousand residents.

“We require a large amount of land for us to even consider that and then the next consideration after that was how can we get the closest to the largest amount of the population. So for us, Schulenburg was a good location because you are right near the triangle of Houston, San Antonio and Austin,” Hidalgo says.

Knox Medical’s marijuana grow operation and dispensary is virtually unnoticeable. It’s located just off of a two-lane country road. And while guarded by a chain-link fence and razor wire it still resembles a portable building you might see at a construction site with a make-shift greenhouse, except with a lot more surveillance cameras.

While many Schulenburg business owners were reluctant to share their views about the medical cannabis oil being produced and sold in their own backyard.

Others like Roy Smrkovsky, owner of the City Market, a barbecue joint/meat market, right in the heart of town welcomes the idea.

“I don’t believe in essence of smoking weed and driving and doing stuff like that. It is for medicinal purposes, why suffer, why go through life and suffer,” Smrkovski says.

Smrkovksi, whose wife suffers from chronic pain, says he would be in favor of the state passing a full medical cannabis law that allows a doctor to recommend its use for any condition.

Stacy Hegar, who manages the Marketplace Café and Garden just a few blocks away from Smrkovski, says the dispensary is likely to also boost the town’s economy.

“Well, and we’ve had some of the employees come in and eat, so the employees are helping the economy also,” Hegar says.

Knox Medical says registered Texas patients using the company’s website will place an order and then have it couriered to their location, which will begin happening by the end of December.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
This is CBD only and calling that a MMJ program in Texas is complete and utter horse pucky, IMO.


Medical marijuana weeks away from being sold in Texas



Texas is weeks away from the first legal sale of medical marijuana.

Two years after lawmakers legalized the drug for epilepsy patients, the state has licensed a company operating as Knox Medical to dispense the drug.

CBS11 travelled to Winter Garden, Florida, where the company has already broken ground as one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries there.

“I never thought in a million years, I’d be growing marijuana,” admits Bruce Knox, the company’s COO and chief cultivation officer.

A half hour’s drive from Disney World, hundreds of marijuana plants are growing in the greenhouse he oversees.

“I grew up extremely… with conservative values, and I’d never even seen a cannabis plant prior to getting into this,” said Knox.

His late parents, both retired law enforcement officers, founded Knox Nursery in 1962.

In 2015, Knox teamed up his family business with Cansortium Holdings to create Knox Medical.

“I was fortunate enough to go ask my dad about two weeks before he passed what he thought about this,” recalled Knox. “He said that I never thought that it should be legal.”

In September, Texas awarded a new branch of the company, Cansortium Texas the state’s first license to dispense. Customers will see it operate and sell products under the same Knox Medical name it uses in Florida.

Marijuana plants are now growing under tight security at a facility in Schulenburg, Texas.

“We believe we will be ready by the end of the year,” said Jose Hidalgo, Knox Medical’s CEO and founder.

CBS11 asked Hidalgo why he wanted to expand to Texas.

“Because I think this is the future of medicine and there are millions and millions of people who can benefit from this medicine,” he answered.

Texas and Florida are also similar, he said, with large populations and largely conservative politics.

Both states passed laws allowing non-smoking forms of the drug to be used for limited medical purposes.

In Florida, levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in the plant, are capped at .7 percent for most patients. Texas will bar any substance with levels above .5 percent.

In Texas, only patients with intractable epilepsy will be able to legally purchase medical marijuana. That’s an estimated 150,000 eligible Texans.

Florida started likewise legalizing the treatment only for patients with seizure disorders and cancer. It has since expanded that list to include almost a dozen different conditions.

CBS11 asked Hidalgo if he is counting on Texas doing the same.

“As I always say, we’re not politicians, we’re operators. We’ll leave the politicians to be politicians,” he said.

The venture is still a risky one.

A Florida government website warns, “While medical marijuana is available… it remains illegal under federal law.”

To distinguish their products from recreational forms of the drug, companies like Knox Medical prefer to use the term “medical cannabis” and they emphasize precision, safety and science in its preparation.

From the greenhouse, the plant is harvested, dried and treated.

apot.jpg


Medical Marijuana

“We grind it up to a coffee like consistency,” said Alex Karol, the lead chemist at Knox Medical.

Those grinds then go into this contraption, which converts it into a thick oil

It’s cooled and purified

“What we’ve technically done is combined hundreds of plant materials down into this beaker alone,” said Karol.

Finally, it’s diluted into its final form – an oil that appears, packaged and labelled.

“So that we can provide an even and measured dose,” Karol explained.

The company plans to use unmarked vans to deliver their product across Texas with security measures in place to keep it from getting into the wrong hands.

A peak inside similar vehicles in Florida reveals cages and camera to guard its cargo.

Each driver’s uniform has a body camera, too, as they deliver the drug directly to homes and offices.

Patients use the oil by placing drops under their tongues.

apot2.jpg


Medical Marijuana

Because THC levels are low, they don’t experience the “high” that recreational users do.

Doctor Joseph Rosado was one of the first in Florida to start recommending cannabis.

Many physicians, he says, remain reluctant.

“There’s a lack of research in the United States, again, because it’s a schedule one drug, and as long as it remains a schedule one drug we won’t be able to do any clinical trials in the United States.”

Because of that, insurance companies won’t help patients, who pay out of pocket for doctor’s visits and the medication.

Doctor Rosado, though, says the drug is an effective one.

“For a child that is having 200 to 300 seizures a day and drops down to 2 to3 seizures a month, that’s better than a slam dunk,” said Rosado.

To access the drug in Texas, epilepsy patients will have to have a prescription from a neurologist who’s on the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas, or CURT.

As of today, five doctors statewide have registered. Only one is in North Texas.

They will not be able to prescribe cannabis until companies have it available for sale.

Knox Medical believes it is on track to begin selling in December.

A second company now licensed by the state, Compassionate Cultivation, expects to begin operating early next year.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
This is a fucking travesty. So, only intractable epilepsy qualifies....is there such a fucking thing as trackable epilepsy? Only a fuckwit politician could come up with this BS.

And they call it the Compassionate Use Act....where is the compassion. Again, only a double talk, mofo, asshat politician could coin that title for such a hideously cruel and unresponsive piece of legislation.



‘Not Bad Enough’: The Families Left Behind by Texas’ Medical Marijuana Program

More than 345,000 Texans with epilepsy don’t qualify for the state’s limited new medical marijuana program.

During the summer of 2016, Micah Jensen told his mother, Bonnie, he wanted to spend his birthday free of the severe migraines that had been plaguing him for months. Micah has autism and temporal lobe epilepsy, which causes recurrent, unprovoked seizures. But the migraines were new and getting worse. Just a week before he turned 11, his pain became unbearable. Micah woke up in the middle of the night screaming in agony. Bonnie rushed him to the ER. The doctor prescribed an antidepressant that was supposed to control migraines, but the pain didn’t go away.

Micah-Jensen-4-360x360.jpeg

Courtesy/Jensen family
“He was on the antidepressant for nine days,” Jensen said. “He was so spaced out, like a zombie. When I tried to call his name, he wouldn’t even look at me.”

A few weeks later, Jensen took Micah to a new neurologist, who determined that Micah’s frequent seizures were causing inflammation and swelling in his brain, triggering the migraines. His anticonvulsant, Lamictal, had stopped working, so the dose had to be increased. But the powerful drug comes with side effects, including weight gain and the triggering of autistic behaviors such as self-injury.

Jensen started reading news reports about children who successfully used cannabis to treat autism or epilepsy in Colorado. Since Micah is diagnosed with both, she hoped cannabis could wean him off Lamictal, but Jensen learned her son didn’t qualify for Texas’ nascent medical marijuana program.

In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed the Compassionate Use Act, the state’s first medical marijuana program. Though it’s tiny in scope compared to other states’ laws, the measure allows doctors to prescribe cannabis products with very low THC levels to patients with intractable epilepsy. Access to the state’s three marijuana dispensaries, which are expected to open in early 2018, is limited to patients who can’t control seizures with federally approved drugs — a restriction that leaves out hundreds of thousands of other patients, including Micah.

Jensen and other medical marijuana advocates tried to convince lawmakers to dramatically expand the program during the 2017 legislative session. More than half of the Texas House signed on to legislation that would have allowed doctors to recommend cannabis to patients with any debilitating medical condition, not just those with intractable epilepsy. Though the bill cleared a committee, it was never considered by the full House.

According to Shannon Robbins, assistant director of Epilepsy Foundation Texas, more than 345,000 Texans diagnosed with epilepsy — about two-thirds of the total — do not qualify for the Compassionate Use Act.

Jensen said Micah’s condition is “not bad enough” to participate, even though his epilepsy is incurable. Because he responds to treatment, his case doesn’t meet the definition of intractable epilepsy. His seizures can be temporarily controlled by adjusting the dose of Lamictal at least three times a year, but she fears the neurologist will eventually prescribe another anticonvulsant with additional side effects.

“[Cannabis] is something that should at least be an option for a doctor to recommend,” Jensen said. “It cannot hurt. If he overdoses on his seizure medications, it can be lethal. But if he overdoses on cannabis, it’s not.”

Jensen said Micah’s condition is “not bad enough” to participate.
Even some people with epilepsy who do qualify may not benefit. That’s because Texas prohibits the sale of cannabis products that exceed .5 percent THC, the chemical compound that gives users a high. Federal law allows the sale of cannabis products that contain up to .3 percent. It’s perfectly legal to order “hemp oils,” such as Haleigh’s Hope and Charlotte’s Web, over the internet. Some families have fled Texas for states that have more expansive medical marijuana programs or fully legal recreational marijuana, such as Colorado.

Becca Harmon and her 12-year-old daughter Jillian are among the state’s “medical marijuana refugees.” Jillian has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and intractable epilepsy. When the family lived in Texas, Jillian would have about 40 to 50 seizures a day. Whenever a seizure lasted more than 5 minutes, Harmon had to apply Valium gel, an emergency medication that must be administered rectally.

Jillian tried Haleigh’s Hope, but the seizures never stopped and she needed the Valium gel at least once a month. The family moved to Colorado during the summer of 2016, and they now treat Jillian daily with CBD oil, THC oil and THC creams to ease the pain from her hip dysplasia. Jillian now only has about one seizure per week and hasn’t needed Valium since they left Texas.

“We understand fully that she is not going to, one day, have no issues and be perfectly typical just because of cannabis,” Harmon said. “But what we have been able to do for her is give her a good quality of life, to be able to find such good seizure control, to help her with the pain.”

But back in Texas, other families must endure the sometimes severe side effects of federally approved anticonvulsants.

Rosendo-Robles-1-360x360.jpeg

Courtesy/Robles family
Rosendo Robles, 12, suffers from brain atrophy and can’t walk, talk or eat by mouth. He must take a combination of Keppra and Clonazepam to treat his seizures, according to his mother, Mayra Rivera. When Rivera added daily drops of Charlotte’s Web to the cocktail of pharmaceuticals, Rosendo’s seizures decreased from 25 a month to about two.

“The doctor wanted to add another medication to treat the side effect of [Keppra]. We said, ‘No way,’” Rivera said. “At this point we don’t even care about the seizures. We care that his heart is going to stop. That’s when we upped the dosage of Charlotte’s Web and he got better.”

Like Micah, Rosendo doesn’t qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program since he responds to treatment. But he still has seizures that sometimes last longer than 5 minutes even with his pharmaceuticals, necessitating emergency medication.

Clonazepam’s side effects include painful constipation for days on end and severe drowsiness; Keppra can make his heart rate increase to the point where he gasps for air. Even though Charlotte’s Web helps, Rivera said she wishes he could qualify for the Compassionate Use Act. A slightly higher THC dose might help with the side effects, or even wean Rosendo off at least one of the pharmaceuticals, she said.

“What kind of life is this?” Rivera said. “This is our worst nightmare — our children are suffering. Lawmakers don’t understand the heartache that goes into our lives. What people fail to really understand is that it takes one seizure that could potentially stop your heart and take your life.”
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Advocates aim to sway rural Texans with ‘new face’ of medical pot

newsEngin.22160778_jwj-Cannabis-0239.jpg

Advocates of loosening marijuana prohibitions in the state are mounting a concerted effort to take their message to West Texas and other predominately rural regions of the state. Above, cannabis plants are displayed at Compassionate Cultivation in Austin on Jan. 17, 2018.

With the sound off, images from a new advocacy video touting the merits of medical marijuana could blend seamlessly into a commercial for the latest model of pickup – a burly Texan, clad in a cowboy hat, strides past bales of freshly cut hay, tinkers with a tractor and even feeds a horse.
The similarity is no coincidence.

Proponents of loosening marijuana prohibitions in the state are mounting a concerted effort to take their message to West Texas and other predominately rural regions of the state. That’s because they concluded in the wake of last year’s legislative session that support among lawmakers had less to do with political affiliation than with the proximity of their districts to major urban centers.

“Our real goal is to change the face of cannabis,” particularly for West Texans, said Jax Finkel, executive director of Texas NORML, the state’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“The stereotype (marijuana user) is the pothead hippie from the ’70s,” Finkel said. “It’s really time to push back on that. People aren’t thinking of an active, hardworking person who wants to stay active and hardworking” but requires access to medical marijuana to do so.

A number of high-profile bills that, by varying degrees, would have lifted marijuana restrictions in Texas cleared legislative committees during the 2017 regular session of the state Legislature, but they all died before coming up for a vote in either chamber.

One of those unsuccessful bills — HB 2107, aimed at making “whole plant” marijuana broadly legal in the state for medical purposes — had 78 legislative sponsors, with nearly 40 percent of them Republicans.

“But, basically, there was like this huge gray wall out in West Texas and the Panhandle (and) all the way down to the border,” in terms of a lack of support from lawmakers elected from those areas, Finkel said. “So we just think there’s a lot of education to be done” in West Texas about medical cannabis and who can benefit from it.

Enter “Richard,” the 51-year-old, blue-collar narrator of the new videos produced by the Foundation for an Informed Texas, an educational offshoot of Texas NORML. The group is hoping West Texans and other rural residents will identify with him enough to listen to his message, learn more about medical cannabis and track their representatives’ positions on it during the 2019 legislative session.

Richard declined through Texas NORML to provide his full name. Finkel said he’s “an authentic medical patient” who relies on cannabis to deal with repetitive stress injuries and chronic pain suffered during a long career in the oil-and-gas industry and the renewable energy sector.

In the videos, he says the issue is one of “medical freedom,” because “every Texan should be able to choose remedies that work for them” without interference.

“There’s no reason that Texans should have to risk arrest or addiction to opioids in order to get relief” from pain or other medical conditions, he says.

He also emphasizes that the Compassionate Use Act, a narrow medical cannabis law approved by the state Legislature in 2015, doesn’t provide any legal access to cannabis products for the vast majority of Texans. The law mandates that such products only contain CBD oil — or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive extract of both marijuana and hemp — and it limits use to patients suffering from a rare form of epilepsy and under a doctor’s direction.

Initial testing of the new videos in West Texas social media markets has garnered positive feedback, Finkel said, and the Foundation for an Informed Texas is hoping to raise about $140,000 — on top of $20,000 already raised — for a comprehensive campaign that would run into the 2019 legislative session and include radio and some cable TV spots.

Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, said the effort “makes sense as a political strategy” for advocates of medical cannabis.

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll early last year found that 24 percent of respondents who identified as Republican said that marijuana shouldn’t be legal under any circumstances, compared with 13 percent of Democrats who felt that way. But despite the difference, the 76 percent of Republicans willing to consider some level of legalization still represented a large majority of GOP respondents.

“There seems to be pretty good grounds here for a legislative education campaign,” Henson said, in terms of letting potential voters know more about the issue and how their local lawmakers stand on it.

Politicians typically are cautious and “reticent to get too far ahead of public opinion” on controversial issues, Henson said. That seems to be the case with aspects of marijuana legalization, he said, because “the Legislature has appeared to be lagging behind public attitudes on this,” providing an opening for a strong advocacy campaign to potentially tip the issue.

Finkel’s group is still developing its campaign, but one area where it’s likely to focus includes the district of state Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, who chairs the House Committee on Public Health. Price allowed HB 2107 to come up for a vote in his committee during last year’s legislative session, although he opposed it.

Price was unavailable for comment this week. His chief of staff, Hal Talton, said Price’s office is “studying the issue of medical marijuana this interim” in advance of the 2019 session.

Regardless, Finkel said she’s optimistic as her group ramps up its campaign.

“With better education, we think we are going to be able to empower people to better understand what is going on in the upcoming legislative session,” she said. “We think we can make this a more deeply penetrating issue, and then people can make decisions for themselves” as to how they feel about their lawmakers’ positions on it.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
commercial for the latest model of pickup – a burly Texan, clad in a cowboy hat, strides past bales of freshly cut hay, tinkers with a tractor and even feeds a horse.

Well, I'm not a for real cowboy, ma'ma....but I'm one hell of a pot smoker! LOL

(yes, for those too young to remember The Midnight Cowboy the cultural reference will be obscure haha).
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
This is the TEXAS GOP, people. If they are on-board, who but the two Sessions (El Jeffe and Pete) are left on the prohibition side? Oh, forgot about Sabet.... haha



Texas Republican Party Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization


Delegates at the Republican Party of Texas convention on Saturday voted to approve platform planks endorsing marijuana decriminalization, medical cannabis and industrial hemp.

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Photo by Vince Chandler / The Denver Post

"We support a change in the law to make it a civil, and not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time," reads one of the party's new positions.

"Congress should remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1," says another.

A third asks lawmakers to expand an existing state law that provides patients with limited access to low-THC medical cannabis extracts so that doctors can "determine the appropriate use of cannabis to certified patients."



And a fourth says industrial hemp is a "a valuable agricultural commodity."

That the official GOP organ in a red state like Texas would voice support for such far-reaching cannabis reforms is the latest sign of how mainstream marijuana has become in American politics.

Earlier this month, President Trump voiced support for pending bipartisan congressional legislation to let states implement their own marijuana legalization laws without federal interference. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is shepherding hemp legalization legislation to passage, with the support of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The Democratic Party of New York endorsed legalizing marijuana at its convention last month.

"Texas Republicans, like the majority of Americans, are ready to see more sensible marijuana policies enacted," Heather Fazio, coalition coordinator for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said in an interview. "Our state wastes valuable criminal justice resources arresting between 60,000-70,000 Texans annually. Delegates took a stand this week for a better approach."

"While it would be preferable for cannabis to be de-scheduled entirely, this call by the Texas GOP signifies a very positive shift in opinion. Outright prohibition is not working and Texas Republicans want to see Congress take action to make cannabis more accessible."

The new planks cleared a multi-step process at the party convention—including testimony before and approval by two committees earlier this week—leading up to Saturday's vote by nearly 10,000 delegates.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
And this is Texas, folks....TEXAS! haha


Republican women spur on changing marijuana attitudes


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texans are changing their minds about medical marijuana. A poll of registered voters in Texas shows 84 percent now support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

That's up eight points from 2015 when the poll asked the same question.

The people who moved the most in the debate over medical marijuana are Republican women, like Amy Lou Fawell.

"Women are nurturing and they're moms and they have compassion for somebody else who has a child that's hurting," said Fawell.

Her 19-year-old son has autism and lives at a residential facility. She wants to change current law and have him take medical cannabis to see if he can come home on the weekends.

"Cannabis is a God-given plant with medicinal purposes like many other God-given plants with medicinal purposes," said Fawell.

The holdouts according to the UT/Texas Tribune poll are Republican men. Then there's major opposition from law enforcement.

But attitudes changed after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law allowing for small amounts of CBD oil to be used for fragile children.

This summer, Texas Republicans changed their party platform to support doctors being able to decide if cannabis should be used, making possession a civil violation and taking it off the schedule one list.

"We know that voters take cues from — in part from political leaders," said James Henson from the Texas Politics Project, who conducted the poll with the Texas Tribune.

He says the experience in other states went a long way to convince women and money minded Republicans.

"It started in terms of tax revenue, kind of raining money in Colorado after marijuana legalization," said Henson.

Texas lawmakers could soon make a change when they return to the Capitol in January.

We spoke with El Paso State Rep. Joe Moody, the Democrat who's a major driver behind this push. He tells us his goal next year would be to make marijuana possession a "civil penalty," similar to a city fine.

The call to loosen laws on medical marijuana goes beyond Texas. Just last night, voters in Oklahoma approved a ballot issue that makes it legal to grow, sell and use medicinal marijuana.

Oklahoma health officials will meet in two weeks to consider emergency rules to make sure the drug is only used for medical purposes.

But a lot of Texans want recreational marijuana to be legal. The University of Texas-Texas Tribune Poll shows more than half of Texas voters approve legalizing at least small amounts of marijuana.

That's up more than 10 points from the same poll in 2015. Nearly a quarter now say there should be no restrictions on the drug.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
“Marijuana addictions are very real"

:doh:


New Ads Aim To Change Perception Of Medical Marijuana For Rural Texans

Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Texans will be seeing — and hearing — a lot of campaign ads. But, on top of the typical election year barrage of political commercials, some rural Texans will also be seeing a very different kind of ad.

When you first see an ad featuring a man in a cowboy hat, you don’t usually expect him to say this: “Medical cannabis isn’t legal for most Texans, and that’s just not right.”

As he talks, clips show the unnamed man fixing a tractor and doing chores on a country homestead. He also describes his struggles to treat work-related injuries before discovering cannabis.



“It’s important to understand that it really is a medicine — it’s a plant-based medicine,” he says. “I like to work outside; I want to hunt; I want to fish; I like to be out on the farm. It truly improved my quality of life.”

Right now in Texas, only a person suffering from intractable epilepsy can be prescribed cannabidiol, or CBD oil, with recommendations from two doctors. This ad is produced by a group called Foundation for an Informed Texas, and its executive director Jax Finkle said they want those laws expanded.

“So we’re working on an education campaign focused on rural Texas so that we can go to people in rural areas so they can understand what kind of program we have in Texas and then understand what medical cannabis really is,” Finkle said.

Finkle said they’re trying to ease negative attitudes towards medical marijuana to get people talking about it before the 2019 legislative session. And this ad campaign is just the beginning.

“We’re currently working on building up to do a media buy through cable, mostly cable and then ultimately when we start doing the town hall meetings, we want to do some banner ads,” Finkle said.

But changing minds won’t be easy, and Jackson County Sheriff A.J. Louderback said that’s a good thing. He lives near Edna, a community northeast of Victoria, with a population just shy of 6,000 people.

“Marijuana addictions are very real and something that law enforcement, for sure Texas sheriffs — we stand against that. This is not an answer for Texas,” Louderback said.

He’s also the legislative director for the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, a group made up of mostly rural county sheriffs.

Louderback said he worries the ultimate motivation behind these ads is to make recreational marijuana legal in Texas.

“You know, it’s beyond a discussion point that marijuana is not a gateway drug into the adoption of a drug culture,” Louderback said.

Jax Finkle said she hopes her group’s media blitz, which begins August 25, can help reverse this type of thinking.

Right now, lawmakers say medical cannabis isn’t the top thing on their minds. State Sen. Charles Perry, a Lubbock Republican, said his constituents aren’t bringing it up.

“At least in the 51 counties I serve, there hasn’t been an overwhelming swell of people running to me saying, ‘We’ve got to do this.’ I think there’s a lot of education yet to be done. I think there is still a lot of momentum to be gained,” Perry said.

Perry said he’s on the fence about expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. He’d like to see more research. But, realistically, he said there is already a lot for lawmakers to tackle ahead of the 2019 session.

“The budget is going to be the biggest issue, and then you throw in Harvey-affected and impacted areas, especially school districts, we’ve got some real infrastructure issues to at least present and deal with, so I don’t think there’s a lot of room for this particular item,” Perry said.

Still, Jax Finkle and her Foundation For An Informed Texas are undeterred. She hopes her group’s campaign will at least help some Texans start to consider the role of marijuana could play in terms of their medical care.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Texas: As Many Focus on the Midterms, Pro-Cannabis Energy Builds Around 2019
When it comes to cannabis, even the consequential congressional midterm elections here serve as a primer for the main event, when the Texas General Assembly reconvenes next year.

Texas is often painted with a broad brush by those who believe the nation’s second most populous state is an intractably conservative, deep red stronghold where cannabis law reform can only go so far.

The coming months will determine whether that camp can be proven wrong. Indeed, the states’ cannabis proponents have high hopes of a more pro-cannabis future in Texas—but they’re holding out for when the General Assembly reconvenes.

November’s midterm elections, particularly for the US Senate and the District 32 House race, may offer a window into whether, and by how much, voters can be swayed by cannabis policy. While voters won’t cast a ballot on the issue directly, they will choose between candidates that are miles apart on cannabis issues (and, granted, many other issues along the blue-red divide).

Democrats Beto O’Rourke and Colin Allred are both open to cannabis, unlike their opponents, stalwart Texas Republicans Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Pete Sessions, respectively. But a Democrat hasn’t held a US Senate seat in the state since 1993, and Sessions is an eight-term incumbent.

Midterm results will no doubt shape a political landscape ahead of state lawmakers’ next session in January 2019, during which cannabis proponents hope they can convince them that the state’s limited medical cannabis law needs a drastic overhaul.

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In 2014, a tech company investor who has been active in the pro-cannabis movement approached Rob Kampia, the founder of the Marijuana Policy Project and its former executive director, with a question: If he could start a legalization movement in a place where the politics would pose a challenge, where should he go?

Kampia told Cannabis Wire that he chose Texas because of its below-the-surface liberal tendencies, because it already had solid activists working in the state, and because of local media coverage that often framed cannabis reform issues positively. The investor provided $100,000 in startup funds for the effort, which paid for an advocate, Heather Fazio, and a part-time lobbyist to start working.

When Kampia began to work on cannabis legalization efforts in Texas years ago, he said many in the pro-cannabis community were skeptical of what could realistically be accomplished. “They were saying Texas is impossible,” Kampia said.

On one level, that early effort was a success, helping to pass the state’s first medical cannabis law in 2015. But the law allows just three cannabis operators in the state—licenses all given to out-of-state companies—who can sell only a limited supply of low-THC, high-CBD oil to those with epilepsy.

Kampia and others became deeply critical of the final bill, which they say was largely gutted at the last minute. “It is accidentally working for a handful of patients with chronic seizures,” he said. “The program is working despite the legislature, not because of the legislature.”

Texas has two-year legislative sessions, meaning if cannabis advocates are unsuccessful during the legislative session that starts in January they’ll have to wait until 2021 to try again. “It is all hands on deck right now,” says Fazio, who leads a coalition of pro-cannabis legalization groups under the banner of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “We can’t leave anything on the table. If we don’t do it in 2019 we have to wait until 2021 to get a crack at it.”

Significant groundwork within the state GOP has already been done, with advocates successfully pushing for Republican party leaders to approve pro-medical cannabis party planks at the state GOP convention in June. Surprisingly, efforts to change the official Texas GOP platform planks to include support both for medical cannabis and decriminalization faced little opposition, garnering about 80 percent support, Hunter White, a spokesman for the group Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), told Cannabis Wire.

Republican support for pro-cannabis measures has increased because of early organizing at the local level, and because of religious groups who supported medical cannabis because of what it had done for patients, White said.

“Surprisingly, everybody was on board as soon as we explained to them how Texas was going about medical,” White said, noting that many had worried about a more permissive program, like the one first implemented in California.

The state’s conservative nature, though, is one reason why some cannabis reform supporters still might not support pro-cannabis Democrats. There are members of RAMP and others in the Texas pro-cannabis movement who won’t vote for O’Rourke—one of the most outspoken pro-legalization Democrats to run for office anywhere—because of his stance on abortion, White said. Others simply won’t vote for a Democrat, often for reasons having to do with gun control, another litmus test in Texas.

That dynamic is part of the reason that Kampia says he didn’t raise the $500,000 in funds he had promised to in an attempt to unseat Pete Sessions, the subject of a previous Cannabis Wire story.

The Texas Cannabis Industry Association, meanwhile, has set up a smaller effort in hopes of unseating Sessions. The group pushed out a digital ad recently taking aim at Sessions’ record, and has used block walks and other get-out-the vote efforts to target some 86,000 voters who don’t usually show up at the polls in Sessions’ district, said Patrick Moran, an association founder.

The cannabis industry generally can’t stand Sessions because of his powerful perch as chairman of the House Rules Committee, where any and all cannabis-affiliated legislation has been buried since he took over as chairman in 2013.

Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, surveyed potential voters during the Democratic primary in the Sessions’ race. Her research showed that his anti-cannabis stance is deeply unpopular, more so than is understood by most political consultants. “People thought ‘this is ridiculous—you’re outdated,’” she told Cannabis Wire. Voters, she said, think that Sessions “better catch up or get out.”

Allred, Session’s Democratic opponent, has said he supports cannabis use for medical purposes. But he doesn’t list it as an issue on his website and has focused more on Sessions’ support of President Trump.

Moran, of the Texas Cannabis Industry Association, said he also believes it’s a risk to focus solely on cannabis, which is why his group is pointing out the civil rights implications of cannabis law reform and other issues related to Sessions’ record.

Yet while the group has a temporary focus on ousting Sessions, Moran told Cannabis Wire that his goals also center around the 2019 legislative session. Working on the Sessions race, he said, “is a win either way. There’s no real political machine or infrastructure in place for a cannabis movement in Texas. We want to take out Sessions, but we have a win by building our the infrastructure and being able to apply it down the road. ”

After the 2015 legislation was gutted behind the scenes, Moran said he wants to take a tougher stance with the legislature. “Holding out an olive branch gives [lawmakers] a stick to hit us with,” he said.

Similarly, Kampia isn’t interested in anything that is mostly symbolic—such as adding a few medical conditions to the current law. Too many lives are affected by criminalizing cannabis, he said. “There’s a middle ground that’s also failure,” he said.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
CBD Arrests Flying High at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

At North Texas' busiest airport, the fourth largest in the country, customs officers will detain international travelers, and seize their CBD, if a quick field test shows it to contain even a small trace of THC

WHAT TO KNOW
  • Traveling with CBD oil or hemp-based derivatives could you get arrested at the airport.
  • While CBD does not contain enough THC to give anyone a high, it can be enough to test positive.
  • With CBD laws differing state-to-state, including in Texas, travelers face a confusing patchwork of enforcement.
As Texas legislators work towards possibly making CBD legal in the state, confiscation of the oil by federal officers has "skyrocketed" this year at DFW Airport, NBC 5 Investigates has learned.

In some cases, passengers have been jailed on felony drug possession charges for a single bottle of CBD.

"I would say a year ago it was almost non-existent," said Cleatus Hunt Jr., port director at the airport for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"But in the last six months, the interception rate for that (CBD) has skyrocketed," Hunt said in an interview.

Shops that sell CBD, which can contain small amounts of THC, have popped up throughout North Texas, and across the state.

And just this week, members of the Texas House voted in support of making the oil legal -- a move that has already taken place in some other states -- paving the way for consideration in the Senate.

But at North Texas' busiest airport, the fourth largest in the country, customs officers will detain international travelers, and seize their CBD, if a quick field test shows it to contain even a small trace of THC -- the ingredient in marijuana that produces a high.

It happened just recently, with NBC 5 Investigates there, capturing it on camera.

A drug-sniffing dog showed interest in a traveler's backpack, prompting a search by a customs officer who found an e-cigarette cartridge. The traveler said he bought the e-cigarette at a CBD shop in Dallas.

An on-the-spot test for THC came back positive.

CBD oil, which has become a health craze in Texas and throughout the country, is made from hemp -- the cannabis cousin to marijuana -- and can contain trace amounts of THC.

CBD users say the oil has a multitude of health benefits, from soothing aches and pains to relieving anxiety, but that there is not enough, if any, THC to make them high.

That doesn't matter, said Hunt, adding that any THC found at the airport can result in a DFW police bust.

"So one single incident, one single small amount of CBD oil that you thought was cool to take on a trip with you, could result in life-changing affects for you," the customs port director said.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained police reports at the airport detailing some of the cases in which travelers were caught with CBD, including a 71-year-old woman who was jailed on a felony charge after telling authorities the vial in her bag was "CBD oil which she used as medicinal pain relief."

Another case involved a 22-year-old college student from Collin County who was caught after officers "conducting a random bag check ... discovered a brown bottle labeled "hemp CBD."

But the lead lawyer for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, which supports the legalization and growth of the CBD and hemp industries, said no one should be detained for possessing the oil.

Attorney Jonathan Miller, who also represents one of the travelers arrested at DFW Airport, said the federal farm bill signed into law last year makes it legal for people to transport CBD products made from hemp.

"Federal law is very clear. And when a Customs official pulls someone over for this, he or she is acting in the wrong," Miller said.

He said of customs officers: "I am hopeful they can use their resources and their time on things that actually hurt people."

A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection had a different opinion on the law, however, saying, "CBD oil is considered a controlled substance under U.S. Federal law."

"Travelers found in possession of controlled substances at U.S. ports of entry can face arrest, seizures, fines, penalties or denied entry," the spokesperson said.

In Texas, state law on CBD is murky, with the legislature currently debating a bill that would clear up the confusion and legalize CBD.

In the meantime, some state law enforcement agencies have said they will arrest and prosecute people found in possession of CBD.

But with different laws in each state, travelers face a confusing patchwork of enforcement that could land them in jail, depending on where they are in the country.

At airports, the Transportation Security Administration tells NBC 5 Investigates it will also notify airport police if TSA screeners find CBD oil during routine checks of passenger bags.

For those reasons, federal authorities are urging international travelers to leave the CBD at home, not in the suitcase.

And for anyone still thinking about taking CBD to DFW Airport, Hunt suggested, "... don't do it. It simply isn't worth it."
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bill Passes Texas House

The Texas House of Representatives has voted to decrease the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor. This marks the first time since the 1970s that legislation to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession has been voted on by the House.

Propelled forward by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and numerous activists around the state, HB 63 passed the Texas House today by a vote of 98-43. Support increased during second vote on the legislation taken by the House, making its final tally 103-42. It makes possession of an ounce or less a maximum $500 fine with no arrest, and has a provision which would prevent the loss of a defendant’s drivers license and allow for a quick expungement. This reduces the penalty from a Class B misdemeanor, which allows for a fine up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail.

The legislation now moves to the Senate, where Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will be able to decide whether the Senate will be able to vote on the matter.

“H.B. 63 has been a five-year-long journey,” said Representative Moody. “It’s one that I began as a prosecutor when I saw firsthand how taxpayer dollars were being wasted on an ineffective enforcement system that ruined lives over such a petty offense. Each year, Texas spends more than 730 million dollars on over 75,000 arrests, almost all of which are for small, personal-use amounts of marijuana”

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has signaled that he is in support of such legislation, which was heavily amended after being heard in committee and when brought to the House floor in order to gain his support. Most notably, the bill originally would have allowed possession of an ounce or less to be a civil fine with no criminal record, though Abbott is reportedly opposed to such a measure.

Members of law enforcement were at the capitol this year to oppose HB 63, arguing that it’s a slippery slope to legalization.

Arguments during the House hearing for HB 63 included comments from Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Rosenberg) who states that the bill amounted to legalization for rich people who can afford to pay the fines and keep consuming marijuana. Moody stressed that the bill does not legalize marijuana, and that it instead prevents around 70,000 people from being arrested and put in jail for minor possession annually. Bell also referred to it as a gateway drug, though Moody refuted that notion as well, saying that the statistics and facts do not support that position. He also argued that the criminal justice system as is, is already skewed in favor of those who have more money to defend themselves.

Moody also took time to clarify that the bill would also not impede police officers in their duties. If an officer smells marijuana, they still retain the right to search. Should less than an ounce of marijuana be found, the plant matter would be confiscated, and the person would be given a citation. The bill notably does not cover concentrated versions of marijuana, of which all amounts are currently a state felony.

He concluded that an arrest for possession of small amounts of marijuana should not follow people around for life and affect their future job opportunities.

*Updated 4/30/19 at 11:57 am to reflect the House’s second vote.


 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Lt. Governor of Texas declares marijuana decriminalization Bill “dead in the Senate”

On Monday, Texas House lawmakers accomplished an historic first for the state. They voted to approve a partial decriminalization bill that would have reduced penalties for the possession of small quantities of cannabis. But as soon as the House sent the measure to the Senate, Lt. Gov. of Texas and Senate President Dan Patrick declared the bill dead. Patrick’s comments came on the heels of a similar statement from Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chair John Whitmire, who told reporters there wasn’t “an appetite” for marijuana reform in the upper chamber. Advocates of the decriminalization measure had already compromised on the bill to get it through the House. And in the wake of Patrick’s declaration, they’re vowing to find common ground with Senate opposition.

Watered-Down Decriminalization Bill Still Too Extreme for Texas Senators
House Bill 63 is sponsored by Texas state Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), a lawmaker who has been trying for years to ease Texas’ harsh criminalization of cannabis. This time around, Moody succeeded in getting his bill through the conservative Texas House by proposing a watered-down version of his original decriminalization bill.

Initially, Rep. Moody proposed replacing criminal penalties for minor cannabis possession entirely. House Bill 63, in its original version, would have replaced criminal charges for anyone caught possessing up to an ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of $250. Only persons who received three such “weed tickets” would face misdemeanor criminal charges.

On Monday, however, Moody watered down his own bill, transforming it from a full to a partial decriminalization measure. Instead of civil penalties and fines, the revised version of HB 63 would simply reduce possession of less than an ounce from a Class B to Class C misdemeanor. Possession between one ounce and two ounces would still be a Class B misdemeanor, carrying jail time, a $2,000 fine or both.

But while the revised version of Rep. Moody’s decriminalization bill won favor among House lawmakers, passing with a 103-42 vote, it was still too extreme for opponents of marijuana reform in the Senate. “I try not to bring issues that are going to be time-consuming if they’re not going to get support, Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) told The Texas Observer.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Opposes Partial Decrim ss Step Toward “Colorado-Style” Legalization
In his declaration that House Bill 63 was dead-on-arrival in the Texas Senate, Lt. Gov. and Senate President Dan Patrick echeoed Sen. Whitmire’s statement. “Criminal Justice Chair @Whitmire_Jhn is right that #HB 63 is dead in the @Texas Senate,” Patrick tweeted early Tuesday.

“I join with those House Republicans who oppose this step toward legalization of marijuana,” Lt. Gov. Patrick’s tweet added.

Lt. Gov. Patrick has a long record of speaking out against bills aimed at loosening Texas’ marijuana laws. He has repeatedly condemned such efforts as “vehicles for expanding access to this drug,” according to a previous statement.

Rep. Moody blasted Patrick’s remarks before his House colleagues Tuesday. “Whatever you think about Colorado-style legalization, this isn’t it. It isn’t even a step toward it,” Moody said.

In Texas, anyone caught with an ounce or less of cannabis can face up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. In 2017 alone, Texas law enforcement arrested more than 60,000 people for simple marijuana possession. Those 60,000 arrests make up more than half of the state’s total drug possession arrests. And as is the case around the country, those figures are marred by extreme racial disparities, with black and Latinx people facing disproportionate arrest rates compared with white people.

Advocates Will Continue Push for Marijuana Reform in Texas
Rep. Moody’s bill was a criminal justice reform bill, not a “step-toward-legalization” bill as detractors claim. If reduced to a Class C misdemeanor, possession up to an ounce would only cary a maximum $5000 fine, no jail time and the possibility for criminal record expungement.

Advocates of drug policy reform, along with Rep. Moody, have vowed to continue the fight. “Dan Patrick is the odd man out here and the ball is in his court,” Moody told his House colleagues.

Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy and supporter of Rep. Moody’s bill, acknowledged that working through the legislative process would be difficult, but not impossible. A compromise found common ground among a majority of House lawmakers, and Fazio said the same can happen in the Senate. “We intend to bring that spirit to the Texas Senate,” Fazio said.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Wow.
Texas School District To Start Drug-Testing Students Starting in 7th Grade
The policy change flaunts evidence that extracurricular activities can prevent drug use.
texas-school-district-start-drug-testing-students-starting-7th-grade-featured.jpg


In one Texas school district, seventh graders looking to join the chess team will now need to make sure they test clean for alcohol and cannabis. Bushland Independent School District officials say that the decision to enforce mandatory drug testing for seventh to 12th graders hoping to participate in extracurriculars is not to combat a pre-existing drug problem, but rather to prevent kids from trying drugs in the first place.

“The board wants to be proactive,” Bushland superintendent Chris Wigington told a local ABC affiliate. “They want our kids to have a drug free environment, we want our kids to make great decisions.” He told reporters that he considers extracurricular activities to be students’ “privileges not rights.”

The decision goes against the advice of many educational and civil rights organizations. The National Education Association has stated that such mandatory drug and alcohol testing is “an unwarranted and unconstitutional invasion of privacy.” The American Academy of Pediatrics has also cautioned against the practice, citing “deterioration in the student-school relationship, confidentiality of students’ medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results.” The ACLU is likewiseopposed.

Many of those groups have noted that participating in extracurriculars is a proven method to keep kids off drugs.


The change to Bushland’s policy comes at a time when Texas is slowly reconfiguring its legal attitudes towards cannabis. Last month, Tarrant County dismissed over 200 marijuana-related misdemeanors, arguing that the state’s recent legalization of hemp and CBD products made previous drug tests that were unable to tell the difference between marijuana and hemp-related products, unreliable. There is also a bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program working its way through the Texas senate.

Nonetheless, Bushland students will be required to sign a consent form and pass a saliva or urine-based drug test on any of 10 dates throughout the school year if they hope to take part in football, theater, cheerleading, cross country, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, track, power-lifting, chess, band, choir, debate, gaming club, yearbook, and student council, according to the district’s official policy.

The drugs the district will be testing for may include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, heroin, and opiates.


Should they decline to be tested, students will be subject to the same repercussions as a positive drug test. Not only will they be benched from the aforementioned activities, but they will also be ineligible to receive a parking permit at their school, and the results will “affect a student’s participation” in school social events.

Students will have two school days after learning of a positive test in which they will be able to provide a doctor’s note explaining their exposure to the drug.

Positive test results will not result in “disciplinary sanctions or academic penalties,” according to the district, and will only be disclosed to the student’s family and district officials. The District shall not release statistics regarding the rate of positive drug tests to any person or organization without the District’s consent or unless required by law,” says official policy.


“Great kids make bad decisions every day and what we want to do is make sure that our kids have the opportunity to make mistakes but come back and make amends,” said Wigington.
 

pxl_jockey

Well-Known Member
Bushland isn’t very far from my high-school hometown, it was a tiny district in the Panhandle. This kinda bullshit doesn’t surprise me at all, small judgmental minds are the majority I’m afraid. All of these posts make me cringe a little, shake my head and be grateful that I got far, far away...
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Wow.
Texas School District To Start Drug-Testing Students Starting in 7th Grade
The policy change flaunts evidence that extracurricular activities can prevent drug use.
View attachment 11431

In one Texas school district, seventh graders looking to join the chess team will now need to make sure they test clean for alcohol and cannabis. Bushland Independent School District officials say that the decision to enforce mandatory drug testing for seventh to 12th graders hoping to participate in extracurriculars is not to combat a pre-existing drug problem, but rather to prevent kids from trying drugs in the first place.

“The board wants to be proactive,” Bushland superintendent Chris Wigington told a local ABC affiliate. “They want our kids to have a drug free environment, we want our kids to make great decisions.” He told reporters that he considers extracurricular activities to be students’ “privileges not rights.”

The decision goes against the advice of many educational and civil rights organizations. The National Education Association has stated that such mandatory drug and alcohol testing is “an unwarranted and unconstitutional invasion of privacy.” The American Academy of Pediatrics has also cautioned against the practice, citing “deterioration in the student-school relationship, confidentiality of students’ medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results.” The ACLU is likewiseopposed.

Many of those groups have noted that participating in extracurriculars is a proven method to keep kids off drugs.


The change to Bushland’s policy comes at a time when Texas is slowly reconfiguring its legal attitudes towards cannabis. Last month, Tarrant County dismissed over 200 marijuana-related misdemeanors, arguing that the state’s recent legalization of hemp and CBD products made previous drug tests that were unable to tell the difference between marijuana and hemp-related products, unreliable. There is also a bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program working its way through the Texas senate.

Nonetheless, Bushland students will be required to sign a consent form and pass a saliva or urine-based drug test on any of 10 dates throughout the school year if they hope to take part in football, theater, cheerleading, cross country, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, track, power-lifting, chess, band, choir, debate, gaming club, yearbook, and student council, according to the district’s official policy.

The drugs the district will be testing for may include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, heroin, and opiates.


Should they decline to be tested, students will be subject to the same repercussions as a positive drug test. Not only will they be benched from the aforementioned activities, but they will also be ineligible to receive a parking permit at their school, and the results will “affect a student’s participation” in school social events.

Students will have two school days after learning of a positive test in which they will be able to provide a doctor’s note explaining their exposure to the drug.

Positive test results will not result in “disciplinary sanctions or academic penalties,” according to the district, and will only be disclosed to the student’s family and district officials. The District shall not release statistics regarding the rate of positive drug tests to any person or organization without the District’s consent or unless required by law,” says official policy.


“Great kids make bad decisions every day and what we want to do is make sure that our kids have the opportunity to make mistakes but come back and make amends,” said Wigington.
I'd move me and my kids to another school district. And this has NOTHING to do with any support of MJ legalization and EVERYTHING to do with my view of personal liberties and freedoms under the US constitution.
 

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