Texas cannabis activists score 4 major successes for St. Patrick’s Day weekend
There were so many cannabis related activities going on around Texas this weekend and their success added to the mountain of reasons why marijuana will soon be legal in The Lone Star State.
Everything happened on Saturday, March 15, keeping this reform train running full steam ahead.
After being denied entry last year into the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade, this year DFW NORML had their application approved and they showed up in style with their own form of green. According to eyewitness reports, they very well could have been the most popular float.
Around 100,000 people attended and as the float rolled by people were cheering and shouting in support of the group and legalization efforts. Never before have the people of the Dallas/Fort Worth area seen something like this in a local parade and judging by the reception, people loved it.
Gloria Campos, who is the Grand Marshall of the Greenville Ave, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and retired news anchor, even stopped by the float to pose for a picture.
The group also made the CBS 11 10:00 p.m. newscast.
DFW NORML’s Executive Direction Shaun McAlister was very pleased with the results, stating “having the opportunity to officially participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a tremendous victory for DFW NORML and supporters of sensible marijuana policy around the world. Today we marched for everyone wrongfully imprisoned for possessing this plant as well as Texas patients being denied safe access to medical marijuana, farmers who have been forbidden by their own government from growing our heritage crop of industrial hemp and responsible adult cannabis consumers simply looking for a safer alternative to dangerous and addictive legal drugs like as pharmaceuticals, alcohol or tobacco.”
He continued, “I’m delighted but not at all surprised by the amount of support we were shown by the 100,000 attendees, float participants, media crews and law enforcement officers at the parade, and am extremely grateful to the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association for granting our request to be a part of this iconic DFW tradition. This is truly a historic day for marijuana law reform in Texas and one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Activists with the group spent many hours working on their entry, while others worked on signs and stood amongst the crowd where people asked for and received information about DFW NORML and it’s efforts to end cannabis prohibition one Texan at a time. Their monthly meetings this year have already seen several hundred people in attendance. After this event, is it time to find a larger venue? Time will tell.
Moving right on over to Houston, the group Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, or RAMP, held their inaugural meeting at King Street Patriots.
The group, which was founded by Ann Lee, a woman who has worked with the GOP since 1970, was founded based on the belief, rooted in years of research and personal experience, that the prohibition of marijuana is diametrically opposed to the Republican principles of limited government, individual responsibility, and personal freedom.
Ann is the mother of Richard Lee, who suffered a severe injury from a workplace accident. She began to change her views on marijuana when she saw the positive effects he experienced from the pain relief. Richard was the primary promoter of Prop. 19 in California, which was a measure to legalize cannabis.
A number of people spoke at the meeting, including several mothers who talked about the immense benefits that medical cannabis holds for children. Since legalization in Colorado and Washington, there have already been Texas families who have uprooted and moved in order to obtain medical marijuana which has been a great help to children, especially those who experience seizures.
Despite the cold and rainy day, upwards of 50 people made it out to the event. Even a few local news stations showed for the occasion. Weather could not deter the determination of those who pour their heart and soul into a great cause.
Also in attendance at the RAMP meeting were a few Houston NORML members, who have been working in the area for nearly 25 years to promote cannabis law reform.
In Waco, the McLennan County Libertarian Party held their county convention and elected nominees for local office. In attendance were several NORML of Waco members, who have been working closely with those in the Libertarian Party.
Executive Director of the Waco NORML chapter Clif Deuvall accepted his nomination to run against Texas House Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson for the District 56 seat.
Also accepting a nomination was Stephen Carter, the former deputy director of Waco NORML and Editor in Chief for Texas Cannabis Report, who is running for McLennan County Commissioner, Precinct 2.
This has come to represent an unofficial alliance between NORML chapters in Texas and the Libertarian Party of Texas, which is the only party to consistently come out in support of cannabis legalization. The bonds are especially strong in the Austin area and Tarrant County.
Rounding out the weekend was a meeting in Beaumont to discuss the possibility of starting a NORML non-profit group in the area.
The event received strong media coverage both before and afterwards, which likely helped contribute to a strong turnout of about 50 people at the Logon Cafe.
Due to efforts by Texas NORML, work has begun around the state to start local cannabis reform chapters, with Beaumont looking to be the latest success.
Local residents Royce Abrego and Corey Mendes are leading the effort to get the ball rolling on the new chapter.
“Each year, 658,000 people are forced into handcuffs for nothing more than possession of marijuana. That’s ridiculous, it really is,” Mendes is quoted as saying by the Port Arthur News.
People from the ages of 22 to 83 lined up in support and to share their stories at the gathering as well.
Faith Baker was one of those in attendance, saying she can hardly remember a time when debilitating pain was not a part of her life, but that cannabis has helped immensely with mitigating that pain.
Baker, who is a 61-year-old Beaumont resident, suffers from fibromyalgia, arthritis, scoliosis, and has recently been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia — a disease that creates episodes of intense, stabbing, electric shock-like facial pain.
“It is more painful than having 10 babies that weigh 20 pounds each,” she stated. “I have found relief with marijuana when nothing else would help.”
Also in attendance was Cory Meriwether, who is quoted by KFDM Channel 6 News as stating that it helps with his Chron’s Disease, fighting against the pain and nausea, and allowing him to better sleep at night.
“We’re going to be looking for people to come and show interest in the chapter and tell us what they can bring as far as qualities as far as volunteering and fundraising and just reaching out to the community and spreading the word on cannabis,” Abrego said.
The next step for those in Beaumont would be to assemble a board of directors and begin the application process for registering a local non-profit NORML group.
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Beaumont area group can visit their Facebook event page or contact Abrego by calling or texting 409-221-9573 or emailing Jroyce.firstname.lastname@example.org.
This weekend is just a sample of what’s to come this year, and considering that only 23% of Texans support keeping marijuana completely illegal, we’re going to start seeing a landslide soon.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com
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