Marijuana political guide released for Texas primaries
A political guide is now available which shows many Texas candidates’ position on marijuana law reform.
It is now possible to carry a voter’s guide into the election booth with you during the primaries this March, a guide which will show you where the candidates stand on the subject of cannabis law reform.
Previously there had only been such guides available for the general election.
However, due to the number of elections which are ultimately decided in the primaries, the organization behind the guide, Texas NORML, found that it was important to cover the primaries this year as well.
“As you well know, many of the districts in Texas are gerrymandered. This means that in many of the districts we know in advanced who the likely winning party is,” states Jax Finkel, the Executive Director of Texas NORML. “This means that the primaries are where the real competition is for most races. This is why expanding the voter guide to include the primaries is so important. It enables primary voters to look at the candidates’ responses and voting record to help with their decision making. There is usually low voter turn out for primaries but that means that a few votes can really make a difference in races.”
More than a dozen people have worked together to make the voter guide possible, including members from a diverse coalition called Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, and it took well over 60 hours to put together.
Roughly 7 percent of those eligible to vote, give or take at times, turns out to participate in the primaries every two years. About 70 percent of those voters vote in the Republican primary, the other 30 percent participate in the Democratic primary.
Candidates were asked five questions to discover their various stances on cannabis.
- 1) Do you support or oppose changing state law to allow residents with debilitating medical conditions (e.g. cancer, multiple sclerosis, PTSD) to access whole plant medical marijuana with a physician’s certification?
- 2) Under current Texas laws, individuals found in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana can be arrested and given a criminal record, and they face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Do you support or oppose changing state law to make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine and no time in jail?
- 3) Do you support or oppose changing state law to allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana and establishing a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol? Under such a system, it would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana.
- 4) Industrial hemp is genetically similar to marijuana but contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana (THC). Although it is illegal to grow in the U.S., it is cultivated around the world for its seed and fiber, which are used in many legal products, such as paper, textiles, construction materials, and fuel. Do you support or oppose changing state law to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp?
- 5) Do you agree or disagree that states should be able to carry out their own marijuana policies without interference from the federal government?
Early primary voting is February 16-26, 2016. Primary election day is March 1, 2016.