Home»Op-Eds»Marijuana reform in Texas dies despite doing things right

Marijuana reform in Texas dies despite doing things right

Two marijuana bills which had momentum going into the final weeks of the 2017 Texas legislative session are officially dead, ending any hope for marijuana reform until the next legislative session in 2019.

HB 2107, which had 77 legislators from the Texas House of Representatives signed on in support, would have given patients limited access to whole plant medical marijuana. Due to the lateness in which it was scheduled for a hearing, the bill’s paperwork did not make it in time for the legislation to be scheduled for a hearing and vote by the full House.

HB 81, which had 40 legislators from the House signed on in support, would have made possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a $250 fine for the first three offenses, and then a Class C Misdemeanor for any further offenses. This bill made it out of committee with nearly a month to spare, however the Calendars Committee, which schedules all legislation for the full House, declined to place it on the agenda until the very last day.

A full 218 bills were expected to be heard on Thursday before HB 81 would have a chance at being voted on, the first time since 1973 a major marijuana reform bill would receive such an opportunity.

Had the House kept its pace, HB 81 would have been heard and voted on late in the night, but before the midnight deadline. However earlier in the day Democrats deployed stall tactics while abortion bills were up for debate. At another point, a group of Republicans called the Freedom Caucus employed similar tactics aimed at causing the death of a number of bills they didn’t like.

Ultimately this led to time running out, and the House never getting to vote on HB 81.

No other marijuana related legislation made it through committee.

Marijuana law reform in Texas died this year despite numerous groups including veterans, patients, mothers of autistic children, law enforcement, health professionals, activists, and others dedicating thousands of hours at the capitol working to secure support for both medical marijuana and penalty reductions. Numerous press conferences were held, the office of every legislator was visited on multiple occasions, meetings with every legislator or their staff were held, information was distributed, exhibits in the halls were set up for two weeks alerting people to the need for reform. Testimony from experts in favor of these bills were abundant at committee hearings. Over 30,000 emails and phone calls were made from Texans around the state. Television and radio ads were ran.

Opposition to these bills amounted to a handful of people including the Texas Sheriffs Association, Texas Municipal Police Association, rehab employees, and pain doctors; primarily those who stand to lose money from changing our laws.

By many accounts, the cannabis movement in Texas did everything they needed to progress their legislation this year.

What happens when you do everything right, secure majority support, not only from the voting population, but legislators themselves, and nothing gets done?

You look towards 2018, register to vote, find candidates who will advance marijuana reform legislation, campaign for them, donate to them, vote for them in the primaries, and vote for them in the general election. Nothing short of that will do the job.

Stay up to date with the latest cannabis news from a Texas perspective by following the Texas Cannabis Report social media pages.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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  1. Josh
    May 12, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    It’s things like this that ruins your day everything was going so good till this bs come on Texas out with the old in with the new it’s time for Texas residents real Texans to have a say on what we want not what a committee wants

  2. Rho
    May 12, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Do not be surprised by this. We are dealing with a rich, wealthy, elite group who watches every cent, every government action with bribes and threats. And they are very disappointed at what we have come to know and learn. They have created a huge market from disease. Do you really think they’re going to go down without a fight? The reason this happened is because they need TIME. They need TIME to keep the plant out of the hands of the American people because now we have become knowledgeable. They need TIME to try to recreate it, patent it. Don’t be discouraged. WE WILLL RISE AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. Why? Because who and what are we rising up for? We are rising up for those we love, theirs and our future and we are rising up for LIFE. There’s no way they can overcome us. Because this should make us stronger. Our work is not done. There is a reason this has happened and you know what it is? It is because the bills we fought to pass weren’t GOOD enough. We need bills passed that FREE this plant to the people. We don’t need doctors to manage it. We don’t need governments to control it. In fact, it is illegal for either one to manage or control such a natural resource. Who do we need to sue? We have work to do: let’s head to Washington and cut the damned snake off at his head. Also, you write, “Opposition to these bills amounted to a handful of people, primarily those who stand to lose money from changing our laws.” Hmm….is that your opinion or do you need to tell us something that you know? We need to investigate and find out exactly who these people are. Think logically. Who is up for re-election? Who can be exposed? Who is withholding care from those afflicted and dying??? NAMES! How loud can we get? Mighty loud! When we grow in strength, number and voice. No one can stand against us. Donate to norml.org!! LET’S PROTEST! DON’T LET THEM REST! EXPOSE THEM!

  3. Glen Crowder
    May 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    The idea of a vote by the people died as well? I thought at the last step it would get on the 2018 ballot. I will have to be a tax burden on the federal level because I have to take $36k a yr in pain meds. I got so much help but can not move to a different place or state. I wish there was a way to do that. If anyone can help tell me how to get a section 8 housing and long term medicaid in a state like New Mexico or another southern state as well as a good main management Dr in the state contact me I am willing to leave after living here 56 yrs. I would need a guide to get these things in a state with Medical Marijuana so I could decrease my dependence on opioid meds like Fentenyl

  4. Tommy Samuel
    May 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Well…This is Texas….Old school…Hate for anything…New….Abbott and his buddies are having a drink…and laughing at all the people like us…. The only way to win this is to vote someone in to the Government that supports….We The People….Trump & Pince…and Abbott…are not them… Trump is going to be the worse President we have ever had…Everything he says is a Lie…. He’s a Crook…that cares about no one but his self…I saw Nixon’s impeachment…Because he was not….(” A Crook “)…. Now we ( I Didn’t )….elected another one. Okay Everbody…When’s the next time to vote for another Governor….?