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One Texan's protest at the capitol to save lives

Arthur Mayer at the capitol in Austin raising awareness about the need for medical cannabis.
Arthur Mayer at the capitol in Austin raising awareness about the need for medical cannabis.

One Texan took it upon himself to post up at the capitol in Austin earlier this month and inform people that a law in Texas is harming both children and adults.

Arthur Mayer, a 63-year-old Christian and activist who lives in Burleson, decided that he would head to the capitol to raise awareness about the need for people to obtain access to medical cannabis, and for recreational marijuana to be legalized and regulated.

“I’ve been to the capitol seven times and have met with most of the legislators, some several times” Mayer said. “This time I wanted to do something different.”

He made up some posters highlighting both children and adults in Texas who are patients in need of medical cannabis, along with those who have died due to a lack of access to a plant which has been shown to drastically curtail seizure activity, bring pain relief to those who are being failed by pharmaceutical painkillers, and increase quality of life for people with a myriad of symptoms.

One little girl from Texas recently had to move out of state to Colorado so she could be treated for her severe seizure disorder. 9-year-old Alexis Bortell was having severe seizures throughout the day and her doctors recommended a liquid dose of cannabis as treatment. Upon taking her new medicine which is legal in Colorado but not in Texas, she went from having seizures every day to an unprecedented 33 days straight seizure free before having a minor seizure. Her parents consider the treatment a huge success which has greatly enhance the quality of her life.

Mayer began his week-long effort at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, April 6 by setting up in front of one of the capitol’s entrances for a few hours before walking around to various parts of the area with his signs. He was up just as early the rest of the week, sitting at a different entrance each day.

“People’s lives are at stake here,” he says.

It was during this week that several bills which would reduce the penalty for possession of marijuana were scheduled to have a hearing. The hearing began at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday and didn’t wrap up until after 2:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. Despite his long day, Mayer got his chance to testify for the bills around 1:30 a.m. that morning.

As he sat with his signs promoting medical marijuana, penalty reductions, and full legalization, many people came up and spoke in support of what he was doing and for changing cannabis laws in Texas. Mayer said that there were a few people who as they were walking by read his signs and shook their head in disagreement, however no one approached him in opposition.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

Mayer said he talked to people from out of state, one person from Europe, and several people who were nurses and students.

“Interestingly enough, people are more willing to read your signs so long as you don’t make eye contact with them” he stated. “Children are another matter though, and many of them, kids of all ages including teenagers, seemed to be very interested in the posters, and smiled when I made eye contact with them.”

“Taxing and regulating marijuana is where we need to be in Texas,” Mayer says. “We need to get control away from the gangs and drug cartels, and offer consumers consistency and transparency in the products they buy.”

Mayer says that his week at the capitol was great not just for raising awareness about marijuana reform in Texas, but for himself as well.

“I encourage everyone to find their voice, take initiative, and not wait for someone to tell them to do something. Don’t ask for permission, act on your convictions and contribute in your own way,” he says. “I’ve been doing this for a year and a half now, and we’ve seen a lot of new groups and success. The more people involved the merrier.”

Mayer states that what it boils down to is that it’s wrong to jail people for consuming a plant, and to withhold medicine from people.

By: Stephen Carter

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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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