Marijuana advocacy group adopts highway in Nacogdoches
After six months of waiting and push-back from the Texas Department of Transportation, a non-profit marijuana advocacy group in Nacogdoches has officially adopted a highway.
In February, the Nacogdoches chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) applied to adopt a stretch of local highway, only to be turned down by the state due to the nature of their organization. They say it was due to listing their group’s purpose as “legislative reform.”
The group pressed the issue however, citing NORML of Waco as already having an adopted two mile stretch of highway, and DFW NORML who has adopted a street in Arlington.
Now the group has been given the green light to begin officially picking up trash on their stretch of road on FM 225.
“It is FM 225 called Durst St inside the loop. Its a very nice scenic road that leads to Lake Nacogdoches, frequented by motorcyclists and Sunday drivers,” says Jared Cates, the group’s executive director.
He says it was important that they be involved in their community, and that is what drove them to adopt the highway.
Cates stated, “we feel that it is a great way for our group to help break down the usual ‘lazy stoner’ stereotypes. We also think it is a great way to let folks know we are here and care about the community.”
The group worked with the Special Olympics earlier this year during their regional basketball tournament, serving as volunteers. They also worked with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and helped the Nacogdoches Parks Advocacy League with a park cleanup.
Relatively new, the group formed at the beginning of 2015, and currently has about three dozen members.
Once their sign is put up and they receive the necessary materials such as trash bags and vests, they plan to schedule their first trash pickup.
They also plan to hold a sidewalk protest in September, along with a bingo night, as well as their usual monthly meeting.
Cates says they plan to hold the protest “to continue to further our efforts in educating the public on the issue and making sure this issue stays on the front burner for the upcoming election cycle,” referring to the need to reform marijuana laws.
The Texas Adopt a Highway program first began in 1985 when the Tyler Civitan Club became the first group to volunteer, adopting a two-mile stretch of US Highway 69.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s website, Adopt-a-Highway is a grassroots movement involving nearly 90,000 groups in 49 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. In 1987, the Trash-Off event was expanded to include litter pickup because research has shown that people are less likely to litter when the roadside is clean. In 1993, Keep Texas Beautiful volunteers joined Adopt-A-Highway volunteers for the Trash-Off, raising the total number of participants in Texas to 85,000.
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