Will Texas legalize marijuana in 2014? The answer and more

texas 1836A constant recurring question asked is, “when will Texas legalize marijuana?” It’s the number one search engine query for Texas Cannabis Report, and many wonder not just when it will happen, but if it will happen this year.

Very few ask now IF it will happen. It is only a matter of when, and legalization opponents even concede that there is no stopping the momentum that activists have started. It’s going to happen in Texas, but knowing exactly when that will happen is hard to say, but rest assured, it’s sooner than many think.

Let’s start with answering the question of the day.

Will Texas legalize marijuana in 2014? The answer is a firm no. This is because the Texas legislature only meets every other year on odd-numbered years. The last legislative session was in 2013, the next one will be in 2015. No bills can be considered until the new session next year.

That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do this year though.

Being that 2014 is a mid-term election year, voter turnout is lower than normal. More people turn out for the presidential election cycles than any other election. Elections are made by the few who show up.

This year is the time where activists are working to influence policy stances by candidates concerning marijuana, and getting pro-cannabis candidates elected.

So far, just about all successful or near-successful efforts to legalize marijuana have come from ballot initiatives. This means collecting signatures to get a legalization bill placed on the ballot for people to vote on during an election. Texas does not have such a process.

In order to have new laws enacted in Texas, a legislator must draft and submit a bill during the filing period before the new legislative session begins. That bill is then read and referred to a committee. The committee hears testimony on the bill and then can do one of three things. They can either vote for it, vote against it, or let the bill die in committee by not voting on it at all.

Should the bill make it out of committee, it gets sent to the calendar committee to schedule the bill for a vote. The calendar committee can either schedule it or leave the bill in committee until the session ends without voting on it. Once the bill is scheduled for a vote, it must be passed by both the House and Senate. Once approved by both, the governor must sign the bill, veto it, or let it sit unsigned for 10 days after which it becomes officially passed.

This is why it is extremely important to elect candidates who are willing to either legalize marijuana, whether it be recreational or medical, or decrease the penalties for possessing marijuana so that no jail time is involved. It’s also important to call your elected representative, express your support for marijuana law reform, and encourage them to take up the matter during the next session. Without these calls of support, these representatives genuinely believe that there is no support for the matter in their districts.

So, if the next opportunity for marijuana legalization in Texas is 2015, will it happen then?

For the past 10 years, bills have been introduced in every session to legalize marijuana or give medical patients an affirmative defense in court. Each session the bills gain a little traction, but given the recent success in Colorado and Washington, and the possible coming legalization in another 10 states, things will be moving far more rapidly from here on out.

It is unlikely that we will see legalization in 2015, even though only 23% of Texans want to keep marijuana illegal. It is possible that we could see medical marijuana though, and even more likely that possession penalties could be decreased. It all of course depends on how hard activists petition their representatives and how the elections turn out in 2014.

There are several organizations working towards marijuana law reform here in Texas, with the two primary ones being National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

MPP, who has been the driving force behind legalization efforts in other states, is currently rolling out a new campaign in Texas. Their goal is full legalization within five years, which is three legislative sessions from now. Each session they hope to gain valuable ground on the way to full legalization.

The organization will be pouring a serious amount of money into the effort, about $200,000 per year, and hiring lobbyists to get the job done.

If people want to see Texas on the front lines of legalization next year, now is the time to act. Five years isn’t that long away, but there’s no reason we can’t make this a reality much sooner.

By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com

Stay up to date with the latest cannabis news from across Texas by liking Texas Cannabis Report on Facebook and following on Twitter

11 thoughts on “Will Texas legalize marijuana in 2014? The answer and more”

  1. If we, Texans legalize marijuana ASAP we will have a booming economy in no time. I don’t know about everyone else but let’s legalize and watch our economy grow beyond the statistics.(greed is good) All hail Capitalism!

  2. Most other states allow people to start ballots of their own instead of leaving issues up to their state legislature; why in the world doesn’t Texas?? Maybe in addition to decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, Texas, with its abundant agricultural land and beauty should also consider growing hemp fields instead of all the dirty oil and fracking that is ruining Texas land and waterways?

  3. Texans we must all stand proud not embarrassed. Realize marijuana reform is a compassionate way of allowing medicine to be administered to the people who need it. Pills and therapy have been used for decades why not add marijuana if it’s going to help! Marijuana has already proven its benefits countless times, “just search the internet” and the states that have been doing so are not burning up nor has there been any zombie out breaks 😎. So lets do this now Texas, My name is Shaun and I could benefit from marijuana reform, Straight shot, god fearing, pure blood Texas American! 😊 God bless America, the best place on earth!

  4. I’m not a Texan by birth, but made it my home after leaving the military because it seemed like a very progressive state. However, after living in TX for over 15 years, I have come to realize that TX may be more behind than my birthplace of AL. Time and time again the efforts to legalize Marijuana have been unsuccessful. Medical facilities such as the VA, only want patients to feast off of pills to the point that you become hooked OR die. Texas politicians don’t allow your citizens to suffer any longer. Vote in favor of legalization. If you don’t, then maybe you don’t have the best interest of your citizens in mind and will need to be replaced. You can be replaced!

    1. I’m all for legalization. In fact I could benifit from it with my M.S. But, comments like jon gave are NOT whhet we need to move forward with this!!

      1. Kyle,
        I agree with you 100%. If we are going to be successful in Texas like i know we are we need to separate ourselves from that “stoner” stereotype. People like jon need to understand that we are sick and after abusing our bodies with countless prescription medicines prescribed to us just to get through the day; while cannabis is one of the only medicines that make us able to rest at night so our endocannaboid systems can repair our systems in turn making us functional so we can carry out normal daily lives. Jon, please for us as a community look at yourself introspectively and ask yourself why would you want to discredit our mission as patients making ill comments while this is a very serious political and urgent matter for all of the sick and dying. We have all invested countless hours of time, money, love and goodwill towards all. God bless everyone. Have a good night.-jc

  5. Just moving back to Texas recently has greatly affected my health. I was in Nevada and used medicinal marijuana from California. Having a form of muscular dystrophy, a fused ankle, and herniated discs, I know the benefits of medicinal marijuana. Now left with the choice of taken narcotic pain pills or nothing, I choose nothing. Medicinal marijuana actually does relieve the pain and symptoms, while narcotics just help a little and hurt your body in the long run. I am hoping for some form of legislation next year to help. I thought we lived in a democracy, so if 26 states legalize it, majority should rule. yeah, right! Hopefully capitalistic greed will help pave the way.
    Everyone get out and vote, and hopefully the right votes will put key people in place to help the process take place.

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