37 Highlights Which Made 2014 Great for Texas Marijuana Activism
Over 200 events in 2014 set the stage for activists to head into 2015 with momentum to change Texas’ marijuana laws. It was a year of many firsts, and will be remembered as a turning point for those involved.
Let’s look at 37 of the major highlights from the year.
- Several new groups formed during the year, with El Paso NORML kicking off right at the beginning of the year. Following them were Corpus Christi NORML, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Northeast Texas NORML, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, Southeast Texas NORML, along with Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, and Central Texas NORML Alliance.
- Radio lost a huge icon in Kidd Kraddick, however in January we found out that he had been using marijuana to help with his chemo therapy treatments. His story helped further people’s knowledge about marijuana’s medicinal qualities.
- Texans got a huge surprise in January when former governor Rick Perry publicly came out in support of states’ rights to legalize marijuana. However he followed that statement by opposing legalization.
- Mothers Against Teen Violence held their first conference, running with the theme of “Building a Movement.” Speakers from all over the state spoke on a wide variety of topics including the myths and misinformation fueling prohibition, how the drug war enables powerful drug cartels and horrific for-profit prisons, and efforts to pass harm reduction and marijuana legalization legislation in Texas.
- Rounding out January, a major insurance company in Texas, Farm Bureau, came out in support of industrial hemp and urged the federal government to remove it from classification as a controlled substance.
- February saw a huge poll which showed that only 23% of Texans wanting to keep marijuana illegal.
- This was followed by an announcement by Marijuana Policy Project that they would begin setting up shop and focusing their efforts on Texas.
- In March, activists scored four major successes over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. After being denied entry into the 2013 Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade, DFW NORML rode in the 2014 one in style. During that time, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition held their inaugural meeting in Houston. In Waco, the McLennan County Libertarian Party nominated a pair of marijuana activists to run for office. Beaumont meanwhile was laying the groundwork for a new organization down in southeast Texas.
- Also in March, the University of Texas at Dallas concluded research which showed that in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, crime has not increased.
- April marked the first time a billboard has been erected in Texas to advertise a cannabis event when DFW NORML raised enough money to buy a billboard along I-10 to promote the Global Marijuana March in Fort Worth.
- A little later in April, the Libertarian Party of Texas met in Temple where they held their nominating convention for statewide candidates. They would end up nominating a full slate of candidates who publicly endorsed reforming marijuana laws.
- Fast forward to May and we see two huge events take place. First, a rally and protest march through downtown Fort Worth in which over 2,000 people attended. Not only was it huge for the numbers, but also because protesters smoked marijuana openly in front of dozens of police officers, and not a single person was arrested. Not a single member of the local news media showed up either.
- Also happening that day was El Paso NORML making waves with their very own marijuana march.
- The movement got its first piece in a major state publication when Texas Monthly featured an article about marijuana having the potential to treat PTSD.
- June was a huge month for Fort Worth, beginning with the Republican Party of Texas adding support for hemp to their party’s platform.
- Also happening during that time was DFW NORML’s Second Annual Texas Regional NORML Conference, which featured a strong lineup of speakers and presented the first major networking opportunity for Texas activists in 2014.
- Later in June the Austin City Council voted to support medical marijuana.
- Rounding out the month, a group in Longview brought to life Northeast Texas NORML.
- In July, Texas veterans came together in Austin to discuss the medicinal benefits of marijuana and what they could do to legalize the plant for medical use.
- It would end up being a long month, with the next big headline maker being the largest plant bust in Texas’ history when authorities found a field full of 100,000 cannabis plants.
- A race for district attorney in Houston was heating up in July as well, with both candidates touting plans to change how the judicial system handles marijuana arrests. Incumbent Devon Anderson would be late to the game though, as Kim Ogg rolled out her plan first, and many would say it was better than the ones Anderson would ultimately propose.
- Soon after, three Texas senators wrote a letter in support Ogg’s plan. This is the first time public figures from such a high office in Texas made such an endorsement.
- In August, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz finally broke his silence on marijuana policy, though it was limited, as he came out in support of gun rights for medical marijuana patients.
- We also found out in August that Texas ties for third in the country for most marijuana consumers.
- Finishing out the month, Houston NORML’s panel discussion ended up being aired on a local TV station.
- Representative Tan Parker came out in support of medical marijuana and penalty reduction for small time possession in September.
- A little later that month a study was released showing that Texas stands to make a minimum of $166 million from marijuana legalization.
- The dramatic Jacob Lavoro case came to an end with a plea deal in October. After several rallies at the courthouse, facing a potential life sentence for marijuana brownies, and the case garnering national attention, he will spend seven years on probation.
- DFW NORML held their second major march of the year, this time in downtown Dallas, which drew about 2,000 attendees.
- A few days later, a poll came out from the Houston area which showed that a majority of people are in support of marijuana decriminalization.
- While November was a month of victories around the nation for marijuana activists, it also brought about the close of a sad chapter as the woman who killed a child in foster care after the girl was taken from her parents because they smoked marijuana was sentenced to life in prison.
- December helped end the year on a high note, starting with the Houston Chief of Police coming out in support of ending marijuana prohibition, saying that it has been a failure.
- Soon after, marijuana was potentially legalized in Texas when a federal ruling allowed for Native Americans to grow and sell marijuana. Texas has three reservations.
- The Texas legislature opened up for bill filings in mid December and Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso filed a bill to reduce the penalty for possession of an ounce of marijuana to a $100 fine.
- Soon afterward, the Cameron County District Attorney came out in support of the bill, even go so far as to say his office does not prosecute for small amounts of marijuana.
- As the month came to a close, we found out that the Texas Border Patrol seized almost 875,000 pounds of marijuana.
- Right before the new year, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy held a conference call to announce that a medical marijuana bill will be filed for the 2015 legislative session.
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