Hemp bills stall out in Texas

A crop of hemp ready to be harvested.

A crop of hemp ready to be harvested.

As the official session of the Texas legislature comes to a close at the end of this month, a pair of hemp bills have officially stalled out, despite strong support.

House Bill 1322 would have legalized the growing of hemp in Texas by farmers and made the process similar to that of other crops. A group pushing the bill, Texas Hemp Industries Association, has said that they had more than enough votes to get the legislation out of committee, however both Representative Tracy King and Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson would not allow a vote on the matter. The two are Chair and Co-Chair, respectively, of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee in the Texas House of Representatives. Continue reading

Texas set to pass medical marijuana law no one can use

CBD Chemical Structure

CBD Chemical Structure

The Texas State House approved a bill 96-34 on Monday intended to allow qualifying patients with intractable seizure conditions to access a marijuana extract containing high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, and only trace levels of THC.

SB 339, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), is extremely unlikely to provide patients with relief because it requires doctors to engage in conduct that is prohibited by federal law. SB 339 previously passed the Senate on May 7. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott. Continue reading

Texas school surveys students about support for medical marijuana

School Bus

At one time during your adolescence, if you’re under 40 years of age, you probably answered survey questions concerning a Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, or YRBSS. These surveys have existed for over 30 years, usually assessing the at-risk social behaviors of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students. YRBSS includes a national school-based survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and state, territorial, tribal, and local surveys conducted by the corresponding health and education agencies and tribal governments. Continue reading

Marijuana ad to run in major Texas TV markets

A provocative television ad in support of legislation to reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession in Texas began airing Tuesday in the state’s four largest media markets. The ad is scheduled to air on CNN, ESPN, and Fox News Channel across Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin through Thursday at midnight, the deadline by which the House must approve HB 507 in order for it to advance to the Senate.

In the ad, Russell Jones, a Texas Hill Country resident who served 10 years as a police officer and narcotics detective in California, highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and says limited law enforcement resources should not be wasted on arresting and jailing people for using the less harmful substance. Continue reading

Texas marijuana bills clear deadline for House consideration

Texans rallied at the state capitol in Austin two days before the Monday deadline for bills to make it past committee.

Texans rallied at the state capitol in Austin two days before the Monday deadline for bills to make it past committee.

Three marijuana bills have made it out of committee in the Texas legislature before the Monday night deadline.

Of the 11 total pieces of legislation submitted this session, a limited CBD only medical marijuana bill, a penalty reduction bill, and a bill which removes all penalties for cannabis now awaits scheduling in the Texas House. A companion bill for CBD medical marijuana has already passed out of the Texas Senate on a 26-5 vote. Continue reading

Texans hold prayer vigil at state capitol for marijuana

Thalia Michelle and Amy Lou Fawell, founders of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism.

Thalia Michelle and Amy Lou Fawell, founders of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism.

A prayer vigil for marijuana was held in Austin on Saturday following the Texas NORML marijuana march and rally at the capitol.

About 20 people joined together as Rev. John Elford of University United Methodist Church in Austin led a prayer blessing various aspects and people in the cannabis movement across Texas. Continue reading

Rally at Texas capitol for marijuana takes on new tone

Over 600 rallied at the state capitol in Austin on Saturday, May 9 for marijuana reform.

Over 600 rallied at the state capitol in Austin on Saturday, May 9 for marijuana reform.

Over 600 people gathered to march through the streets of Austin from City Hall to the Texas Capitol building where they then rallied in support of marijuana law reform on Saturday, enduring a brief rain shower in the process.

Chants rang out, “what do we want?” Answered by “no more drug war!” In particular, an end to the war on cannabis. Continue reading

Texas Senate passes medical marijuana CBD bill

Texas Senate

The Texas State Senate approved a bill 26-5 on Thursday that is intended to allow qualifying patients with intractable seizure conditions to access a marijuana extract containing high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, and only trace levels of THC. SB 339, introduced by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), will now be considered by the state House of Representatives. Continue reading

Texas legislator won’t allow vote on medical marijuana bill

Rep. Myra Crownover (R) Denton

Rep. Myra Crownover (R) Denton

A Texas legislator who chairs the Public Health Committee in the state legislature is set to let a medical marijuana bill expire rather than schedule it for a vote in committee.

Rep. Myra Crownover, a Republican out of Denton, along with other members of the committee, recently listened to well over five hours of testimony in favor of House Bill 3785. Over 70 people testified in favor of the whole plant bill which would establish a medical regulatory system similar to the 23 other states which have legalized cannabis for medicinal use. No one testified in opposition to the bill.

Despite such testimony which often had everyone in the room crying at times, Crownover has stated that “there are still a lot of questions to be answered” about the legislation, indicating that it would not receive a vote before the May 11 deadline. Continue reading

6,000 protesters rally throughout Texas for marijuana

Around 6,000 Texans rallied throughout the state this past weekend to protest marijuana laws.

Five cities participated in the Global Marijuana March, including Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. These marches are held the first Saturday in May each year around the world, and for many cities in Texas, this was their first time holding such a march. Continue reading

Congress denies medical marijuana to veterans by 3 votes

An amendment introduced to a Veteran’s Affairs appropriations bill in congress to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans was defeated by three votes.

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon proposed an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill to stop the Department of Veterans Affairs from spending any funds on prohibiting doctors from recommending medical cannabis, which has shown promise in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Continue reading

Over 100 rally for marijuana reform in Corpus Christi

Over 100 people turned out for the Global Marijuana March in Corpus Christi. Photo by Corpus Christi NORML

Over 100 people turned out for the Global Marijuana March in Corpus Christi. Photo by Corpus Christi NORML

Corpus Christi participated in the Global Marijuana March on Saturday and drew over 100 participants.

Organized by the Corpus Christi chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the group aimed to raise awareness about the need to reform marijuana laws in Texas. Continue reading