Meet the lobbyist pushing marijuana law reform in Texas
With a minimum of three bills set to be filed in the 2015 Texas legislative session, activists are in need of someone with experience in lobbying to ensure the bills make it out of committee.
Meet Randal Kuykendall, a former lobbyist for the Texas Municipal Police Association.
Hired by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Kuykendall is no stranger to the inner workings of the capitol. He will now be focusing on marijuana policy reform.
MPP has been a driving force behind changing the laws in other states, both medically and full legalization.
The Austin Post recently sat down with Kuykendall to talk with him about his new job.
Asked about what his job looks like on a daily basis, he responded “on a daily basis, it’s educating and asking the question of legislators, “Where do you stand?” The biggest thing, which has surprised me, is that despite the fact there have been lots of advocates and associations working in Texas to reform outdated and antiquated laws, legislators still aren’t familiar with marijuana and its basic functions, the benefits, the harms, and the law regarding possession. There is a lot of education going on.”
Multiple groups have banded together in Texas to help change the law in the upcoming session.
The three bills expected to introduced are medical marijuana, penalty reductions, and full legalization.
Kuykendall says that the strongest support is for medical cannabis.
“There is a lot of support for medical marijuana. Not necessarily the version we are drafting now, but we are working on it. There is more support for that every day. The civil penalties bill is the same; there have been movements here for a long time to reduce those penalties, and it’s appealing across the board, because it’s not changing a lot for drug policy. Legislators see it as a smart economic move.”
Get the full interview with Kuykendall here.