Anti-marijuana Texas representative declines to run for office
Republican Rep. Scott Turner has announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2016. Turner gained attention for both his unsuccessful attempt to unseat Rep. Joe Strauss as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and for his stance on medical marijuana.
The former NFL player represents District 33 of the Texas House of Representatives and was elected in 2012, defeating Libertarian Party candidate Michael A. Carrasco with over 85 percent of the vote. In 2014 he ran unopposed. A Democrat last vied for the seat in 2010, 6 year incumbent Solomon Ortiz Jr., who lost by 5 percent.
District 33 encompasses parts of north Texas, gerrymandered around McKinney, Allen, Plano, and Garland, representing most of Frisco.
Earlier this year, 9-year-old Alexis Bortell, a girl who suffers from severe seizures, was accompanied by her father Dean to speak with Rep. Turner concerning a medical marijuana bill which was introduced during the 2015 legislative session.
Medical cannabis has been shown to drastically curtail seizure activity and Alexis’ doctors had recommended that she begin treatment with the plant’s extracts. Rep. Turner came out in opposition to medical marijuana, saying that he was morally opposed to it.
This prompted a protest at his office in April when around 45 people showed up to support medical marijuana.
Ultimately Alexis suffered a seizure severe enough which prompted her family to move to Colorado where she could legally receive her medicine. Since uprooting to their new home, Alexis has only suffered one minor seizure, and is now approaching 100 days of seizure free activity since beginning her dosages of cannabis extracts, both THC and CBD.
Before moving, she had seizures multiples times each day.
Her father testified during the Public Health Committee hearing for the medical marijuana bill, which died in committee after Denton based Rep. Myra Crownover refused to allow a vote on the legislation.
In response to Turner’s decision, Dean stated “though we did not agree on a key human rights issue we thank him for his service and for being the inspiration for the creation of Team Alexis. We wish him well in all his future endeavors.”
Team Alexis became a rallying point for supporters who sought to help Alexis and other patients obtain medicine in Texas without having to move to another state where medical marijuana is legal.
Many had promised to replace both Turner and Crownover after their actions this session.
A local non-profit marijuana advocacy group, DFW NORML, has been involved with getting people in north Texas to become more educated about their representatives and out to the voting booths.
The group’s executive director, Shaun McAlister, reflected on Turner’s decision, saying “Turner stepping down is a huge opportunity for the cannabis law reform movement in Texas because for a time, he seemed to be one of the most vocal critics of medical marijuana in our House of Representatives. Last year’s headlines surrounding his poor relationship with constituents the Bortells are still making their rounds across the web.”
He adds, “so this announcement could begin a ‘perfect storm’ scenario for a marijuana friendly candidate to seemingly come out of nowhere and lead District 33 in a more sensible, compassionate direction, especially with regard to medical cannabis. While I respectfully thank Representative Scott Turner for his service to the state of Texas, I’m hopeful that he will no longer attempt to stand between Texas patients and a natural, non-toxic, therapeutic herb that could save so many of their lives.”
Rep. Turner wrote a letter to his constituents announcing his decision, stating “In this new season for my family and me, I look forward to impacting our community, state, and nation through exciting opportunities in business, community service, ministry, and whatever path the Lord directs. Though my service as a state representative comes to an end, you can count on me to use my voice to remain involved and champion our shared conservative values.”
“From Rockwall, Heath, Royse City, McLendon-Chisholm, Rowlett and Fate ….. to Frisco, Anna, Farmersville, Josephine, Blue Ridge, Prosper, Wylie, and Celina, we have worked together to ensure that our conservative principles are well-represented in Austin.”
By: Stephen Carter
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