Categories
BLOG

texas marijuana news

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy

Early voting in Texas begins tomorrow. Are you prepared?

We worked with our friends at Texas NORML to survey candidates seeking your vote to serve in the Texas House, Texas Senate, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate. In our Texas Marijuana Policy Voter Guide, you’ll find candidate responses to our survey as well as voting records for incumbents.

There’s still time to volunteer to help candidates who support your views. Contact them via email, social media, and/or their websites. You can sign up to do block walking, phone banking, or work a polling location. These are free ways to support those who support reform!

Early Voting is from October 13-30 and
Election Day is November 3, 2020!

Texas Marijuana Policy Conference | $99 Registration!

Featured Speakers: Senator Johnson, Chairman White, and
TDA Hemp Advisory Council Member Lisa Pittman

This year’s Texas Marijuana Policy Conference will be hosted online, allowing safe and convenient participation. Early bird registration is available now, starting at $99!

This event, which will be streamed online on Nov. 20-21, will feature conversations on marijuana legalization, statewide decriminalization, expanded access to medical cannabis, and the thriving hemp market in Texas.

We’ve already confirmed several state legislators, including Chairman James White and Senator Nathan Johnson. Lisa Pittman, Industrial Hemp Advisory Council Member for the Texas Department of Agriculture, has also confirmed her participation! Their experience will offer us great insight and perspective.

In addition to sessions dedicated to politics, we’ll offer cannabis education and industry-focused content. Register today to lock in early bird pricing!

Special thanks to Alamo Remedy, one of our Premier Sponsors!

“Alamo Remedy is CBD For Texans by Texans. Starting at only $17.99 for 250 MG of CBD, Alamo Remedy is one of the best bargain buys in the market. All products are 100% organically farmed, non-GMO, gluten-free and third-party lab tested. Find your remedy risk free with our 90-day money back guarantee.”

Use discount code TMPC20 on their website for 10% off your purchase and a 20% donation toward our work to reform marijuana laws in Texas!

Become a sponsor of this event! More information available here.

Texas Marijuana Policy Conference | November 20-21, 2020

We’re excited to announce that we are moving forward with our third annual Texas Marijuana Policy Conference! For a safe and inclusive event, this conference will be hosted online.

Our goal is to elevate the conversation about marijuana law reform
in advance of the 87th Legislative Session!

Featured speakers will include policymakers, advocates, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs. We’ll discuss the political climate in Texas, opportunities for reform in 2021, the evolution of the cannabis industry in our state, and best practices from around the country.

One of our first confirmed speakers is Representative James White, chairman of the Texas House Corrections Committee!

Chairman White, a conservative from east Texas, was a joint author of the decriminalization bill and co-author of the medical cannabis bill, both of which passed the House last session. Additionally, he was a co-sponsor of the bill to legalize hemp. Chairman White is an ally and a very important supporter of reform. We are honored to have him join us for TMPC20!

Early bird registration is available now, starting at $99!

Archived content will be available to conference attendees for six months after the event, giving ample opportunity to benefit from dozens of sessions and keynote speakers.

Please share this upcoming event with your friends, supportive family members, and social network. This is an event y’all won’t want to miss!

VIDEO: Virtual Advocacy Workshop | TxMJPolicy

Most Texans agree that our state’s marijuana laws should be reformed. Current penalties are harsh and unreasonable. It’s time for a change!

Learn more about the political process and timeline, including elections, the upcoming legislative session, and how to effectively communicate with your legislators .

Advocacy is a critical part of our movement for reform! Individuals sharing personal or professional experiences with lawmakers have brought about unprecedented progress. Let’s keep up the momentum!

Advocate Resources

Cannabis 101:

Federal Policy:

Hemp:

Medical Cannabis:

Decriminalization:

Retail Market:

General Election (Nov. 3, 2020):

87th Legislative Session (Jan. 12, 2021):

Events and Important Dates:

  • Deadline to Register to Vote (10/5/20)
  • Texas Patient Study on Medical Cannabis (Deadline: 10/6/20)
  • Central Texas Candidate Forum (10/7/20 at 8pm)
  • Early Voting for General Election (10/13-30/20)
  • Texas Veterans Cannabis Conference (10/17/20 at 10am)
  • General Election Day (11/3/20)
  • Pre-Filing of Bills Begins (11/9/20)
  • Texas Marijuana Policy Conference (November 20-21, 2020)
  • First Day of the 87th Legislative Session (1/12/21)
  • Texas Marijuana Policy Workshop (1/12/21)

Common Objections:

MISC:

TxMJPolicy | Upcoming Events, Legal Updates, and Action Alerts

This Monday, we’re hosting a FREE Virtual Advocacy Workshop. Join us to learn more about the political process and timeline, including elections, the upcoming legislative session, and how to effectively communicate with your legislators. Click here to register.

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be hosting our third annual Texas Marijuana Policy Conference on November 20-21. To be safe and inclusive, this event will be hosted online and will feature policy makers, industry leaders, advocates, and entrepreneurs. Register now for an early bird discount — $99 registration! (Sponsorship opportunities available.)

Two more exciting opportunities are being hosted by our friends with the Foundation for an Informed Texas (FIT) and Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana: Texas Veterans Cannabis Conference (Oct. 17) and a Texas Patient Study on Medical Cannabis to help provide accurate data about medical cannabis and patient needs. FIT will share this important data with legislators.

Other News/Updates:
The Department of State Health Services WILL NOT be able to enforce their recently adopted rule banning smokable hemp. A Temporary Injunction will be in place until the lawsuit is considered by the court in February 2021. Read more here.

In spite of local diversion and first-time offender programs in nearly every major city, more than 45,000 Texans were arrested for possession in 2019. Dallas recently reported that 90% of those arrested were black and hispanic, demonstrating precisely why we need a statewide policy eliminating the threat of arrest and jail time for marijuana possession. Contact your state legislators.

Congress was set to consider the MORE Act this month. In spite of record-high support from the American people, Democrats in the House recently announced that they are postponing the vote until after the election. More here.

LIVE STREAM: Temporary Injunction Hearing on Smokable Hemp Ban (Texas)

UPDATE: No ruling was made today, but is expected by the end of the week.

Without legal authority to do so, on August 2 the Texas Department of State Health Services instituted regulations banning the retail sale of legal smokable hemp products. (More here.)

Hemp businesses are fighting back!

Today in Austin, the Travis County 261st District Court and Judge Lora Livingston are considering an application for Temporary Injunction.

San Antonio | Cite and Release Program Report: Good, not great.

The San Antonio Police Department recently released a full report on their Cite and Release program, which began on July 1, 2019. According to SAPD:

This program authorizes SAPD Officers to issue citations in lieu of custodial arrest in certain Class A or B misdemeanor offenses…SAPD amended existing departmental policy and expanded officer discretion to support the enhanced cite and release opportunities.

The program signaled progress and San Antonio’s willingness to consider an alternative to arrests for simple marijuana possession. It’s saved more than 2,700 hours of officer time and we saw a 35% reduction in the number of arrests for small amounts of marijuana. This is good.

Sadly, though, most people are still being arrested: 64% of those who were detained for possession of small amounts of marijuana were still taken to jail. And each person who was cited or arrested will face the full brunt of the state law when they get to court (up to six months in jail and $2,000 in fines) . According to estimates from the Department of Public Safety, 66% of those charged will be convicted, leading to a permanent criminal record and a lifetime of collateral consequences.

Collateral consequences include automatic drivers license suspension, hindered access to education, limited employment opportunities, and even safe housing can be difficult for those convicted of marijuana possession.

This report illustrates our serious need for statewide reform to decriminalize marijuana. Meaningful changes to our state law would eliminate the threat of arrest, jail time, and (most importantly) the criminal record associated with even small amounts of marijuana.

Upcoming Event

Temporary Restraining Order Granted Against the State, Preventing Enforcement of Smokable Hemp Ban

Update from Ritter Spencer, the firm heading up this lawsuit:

“The District Court has entered an order [yesterday] extending the temporary restraining order enjoining DSHS from enforcement of its ban against smokable hemp in Texas until the hearing on our application for temporary injunctive relief on September 14, 2020.”

Bottom line: if a business was legally selling smokable hemp products before August 1, when the new (and unlawful, IMO) regulations went into effect, they may continue doing so until at least Sept. 14. Stay tuned for updates!

(See below for more information about the lawsuit, restraining order, and backstory.)

Today in Travis County, Judge Lora Livingston granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), protecting hemp businesses that sell smokable hemp products in Texas.

Last year, the Texas Legislature authorized the cultivation, manufacturing, and sale of hemp and hemp products. While the law restricts in-state manufacturing of smokable hemp products, it does not restrict the in-state sale of these products. An arbitrary restriction put in place by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) on August 1 oversteps the department’s rule-making authority, banning the sale of a product that is completely legal for Texans to possess and consume.

This TRO maintains the law as it was before DSHS instituted their unlawful regulation, protects Texas business owners, and gives time for attorneys to prepare for a Temporary Injunction hearing on September 2.

“No enforcement of the new rule.” – Judge Livingston

When this unlawful rule was originally proposed last fall, we mobilized the grassroots, generating hundreds of public comments during the rule-making process. Here’s some of the backstory.

Note: It has been clarified that this ban would not prohibit the sale of loose hemp flower as long as it’s not marketed for smoking. It would ban hemp flower pre-rolls and CBD vape cartridges.

Stay tuned for updates as legal proceedings continue.

TxMJPolicy Political Update — August 2020

TEXAS MARIJUANA POLICY VOTER GUIDE | 2020 PRIMARY RUNOFF EDITION

In July, there will be dozens of Primary Runoff Election around the state because, in those districts, no candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the March Primaries. The two candidates with the highest number of votes face off in the Primary Runoff Election to see who will represent their party on the ballot in November.

We surveyed the candidates to find out where they stand on marijuana policy, including voting records for incumbents. With this information, you can vote for candidates who share your values. Here is how you can prepare:

  • Review the Texas Marijuana Policy Voter Guide for Republican and Democratic candidate responses. (Libertarians have a separate process.)
    Reminder: If you voted in one party’s Primary in March, you can only vote in that party’s runoff. Switching parties at this time would violate election law. So stick with your party for the runoff.
  • Early Voting Starts: Monday, June 29th, 2020 | Election Day: Tuesday, July 14th, 2020. Learn about voting locations, what you need to vote and more HERE.
  • Please make a donation to support this important program!
  • Texans must rely on our state elected officials, specifically our state representatives and state senators (so take a close look at yours). Learn more about engaging with your legislators by reviewing the Texas NORMLActivist Training Guide.

Texas NORML originated the first cannabis centric voter guide in 2012. We’ve teamed up to expand the program with support from our broad coalition of organizations, activists, and community leaders dedicated to realizing effective, efficient, and evidence-based marijuana policies in Texas. We will also offer a General Election edition.

Participating in elections is a critical part of setting ourselves up for success when the Texas Legislature convenes in January. In addition to voting, please consider reaching out to the candidates to share your position on marijuana policy.

Make sure they know you and understand why this is such an important issue!

Texas Compassionate Use Program

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy Early voting in Texas begins tomorrow . Are you prepared? We worked with our friends at Texas NORML to survey candidates seeking your vote to serve in

San Antonio state senator proposes marijuana legalization as Texas faces budget shortfall

State Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez claims legalization would produce $3.2 billion in state revenue

SAN ANTONIO – Following a hard-fought victory over Pete Flores for the District 19 state senate seat, state Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez pre-filed a bill on Monday that would legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use in Texas if passed.

While campaigning for the state Senate seat, Gutierrez, a Democrat, made marijuana legalization one of his campaign platforms. In a news release issued Monday, Gutierrez said legalization would result in an estimated $3.2 billion in state revenue and 30,000 high-paying jobs, boosting employment in agriculture, manufacture, retail and distributing.

Marijuana is legalized, either for medicinal or recreational, adult use, in at least 38 states, the most recent of which include New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota in last week’s election.

Texas has only begun loosening its tight prohibition on the drug in the past five years but still maintains some of the strictest laws in the country.

“There is going to be a budget shortfall to affect all Texans next legislation session, however, I look forward to working with my colleagues to offer a real solution,” Gutierrez said in the news release. “This bill will generate new revenue and create at least 30,000 high paying jobs. Our state’s economic future is uncertain and in order to best serve our state, we have to look at cannabis legalization as a solution and not keep going back to the taxpayers and raise their taxes.”

Texas’ revenue has plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. The state faces a deficit of nearly $4.6 billion as they reconvene in Austin to set the next budget in January. The comptroller estimate shows drops in revenue from sectors like travel, retail and alcohol and beverage due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state sales tax is the largest source of revenue for Texas.

In 2019, Texas lawmakers legalized hemp, which is used to make cannabidiol, or CBD, a nonpsychoactive compound of cannabis. The hemp must contain less than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

In 2015, Texas lawmakers passed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which legalized medical cannabis with less than 0.5% THC for people with specific diagnoses, like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Veterans unsuccessfully lobbied the legislature to include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as one of the diagnoses that qualify for medical marijuana use.

Public sentiment has grown in Texas for marijuana legalization, polls showed. More than 80% of Texas voters support legalizing pot in some capacity, according to a 2018 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

But Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, have yet to embrace marijuana legalization and have not completely been supportive of expanding medical use.

In a recent visit to one of Texas’ first medical marijuana dispensaries, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller did not express support for recreational use, but did say the program should be expanded for people who would benefit from the medical use of it.

The bill faces an uphill battle, requiring the approval of the state legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott. The legislative session will convene in January.

Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

About the Author:
Fares Sabawi

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for three years. He has covered several topics, but focuses on crime, courts and record requests the most. He also has a recurring appearance on KSAT News at 9’s Trending Now segment.

State Senator-elect Roland Gutierrez said legalization would result in an estimated $3.2 billion in state revenue. ]]>