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Texas Governor Greg Abbott changes tune on marijuana policy

While legalizing marijuana during the 2017 Texas legislative session remains unlikely, a recent statement from Governor Greg Abbott may give hope to those seeking to pass legislation which would expand Texas’ medical marijuana program.

In a statement to Houston-based KHOU after several measures were filed to legalize both recreational and whole plant medical cannabis, Press Secretary John Wittman said, “Governor Abbott opposes the legalization of marijuana in the State of Texas.”

This is a departure from a previous statement the governor made during the 2015 legislative session when he held a signing ceremony to sign the Texas Compassionate Use Program into law. That piece of legislation officially demonstrated that Texas government officials recognize that the cannabis plant holds medicinal value, despite the bill limiting medicine to CBD extracts which contain little or no THC, the ingredient in marijuana which provides its consumer with a “high.”

Despite signing the legislation, Gov. Abbott made sure to state that it does not open the door to broader marijuana legalization.

“It will however provide healing and hope for children that are afflicted by unrelenting seizures caused by epilepsy,” Abbott said.

“I remain convinced that Texas should not legalize marijuana nor should Texas open the door for conventional marijuana to be used for medical or medicinal purposes,” Abbott said. “As governor I will not allow it.”

Considering the further passage of both recreational and medical cannabis in other states, along with a push by veterans in Texas to obtain access to medical cannabis, Abbott may very well be signaling a minor shift in policy given that with his recent statement he did not include medical marijuana while stating that he opposes legalization.

A recent Texas Tegna Poll showed that 71 percent of Texas voters would support expanding the list of medical-marijuana qualifying conditions under the program. Additionally, delegates to the Republican Party of Texas State Convention voted to include the expansion of the Compassionate Use Program in their platform.

The plank, supported by 78 percent of GOP delegates, states “We call upon the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients.”

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas and serves as Deputy Director for NORML of Waco. 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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12 Comments

  1. Laura Wright
    December 13, 2016 at 1:35 am

    I wholeheartedly believe and Highly recommend that Mr. Abbott maybe try smoking some pot. Then maybe take that self-righteous stick out of his asshole. For real. There are sick people everywhere and dying daily from overdosing on pills or killing themselves because they can’t get the help they need. We the people do not need more pills. Free the weed!

  2. Glenn Adair
    December 13, 2016 at 8:47 am

    You are absolutely correct, Laura. He needs to try a little of the purple so he can chill out and mellow. Oh no, he may like that!

    • Laura Wright
      December 13, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad someone agrees with me. Yeah, he would definitely like it.

  3. Tim Currie
    December 13, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Hello,

    I just got out of a hospital on 12.6.16 after spending 12 days following a group of seizures. I’m so tired of having seizures! They scramble my head for days and are getting worse. They never happened in my college years at TX State when I smoked marijuana. I didn’t take a single pill back then. I surely can’t say that anymore. Even more were added after the last seizures.
    I want the days of no pills, no seizures, no hospitals, no worries to COME BACK! Please bring it back into this life, only this time make it legal!

    Tim

  4. Lonnie Williams
    December 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Can he be impeached? Well maybe he’ll just turn to dust soon, he’s already close in the head!

    • Laura Wright
      December 15, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      I can only hope maybe my email*if* he actually read it, had something to do with his change of heart. I seriously doubt lil ol me could change a mind so dead set on letting us suffer. Plus I got some bad news from my opthamologist today. My body chemistry doesn’t handle the glaucoma drops well and I have the most severe reactions from them. And surgery is the last resort because I have a tear on my right iris. Which means that surgery would only keep my eye pressures elevated. Leading to blindness earlier. So I’m basically screwed because I’m not doing surgery when I can be healed with medical marijuana. God willing! Anyway y’all, im sorry for ranting. God bless and Merry Christmas!

  5. Anthony
    December 16, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I really don’t understand why Mr Abbott’s hateful narrow mined view for a plant that no where in history has hurt anyone.
    If cannabis helps our military with Post-Traumatic -Stress Disorder,stops or control rare forms of Epilepsy clearly
    Cannabis is Good not Evil!!! Now Alcohol and Cigarettes which is all bad stuff does nothing good for your health in fact it kills.
    But it’s LEGAL!!!!! I’m just say!

    • Laura Wright
      December 17, 2016 at 2:14 am

      Absolutely! Besides, no one in the history of all history has ever died from marijuana.

  6. December 16, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I really don’t understand why Mr Abbott’s hateful narrow mined view for a plant that no where in history has hurt anyone.
    If cannabis helps our military with Post-Traumatic -Stress Disorder,stops or control rare forms of Epilepsy clearly
    Cannabis is Good not Evil!!! Now Alcohol and Cigarettes which is all bad stuff does nothing good for your health in fact it kills.
    But it’s LEGAL!!!!! I’m just say!

  7. Tim
    December 27, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    As a former veteran with PTSD, I’ve smoked marijuana for 30 + years,I’m now a grandfather of 2,retired presently from a 20 yr job,and I’ve never had any issues that a person who drinks does,except having hide and fear from the law because of currently and previous laws in Texas.If this new bill doesn’t pass I’ll be leaving Texas and going to Arkansas for there medical marijuana.

    • Laura Wright
      December 28, 2016 at 10:52 am

      I’m to the point of relocating myself also Tim. It’s so very heartbreaking that good people don’t have access to good heath care and have to uproot themselves to a different state. I’m in constant pain from my back, previous surgeries I’ve had and my glaucoma. I can’t do the drops because I have the most severe reactions to them and pills are out of the question. I refuse to be addicted to the crap. I just want to say thank you Tim. Thank you for your service. I pray we get this, but I won’t hold my breath.

  8. Tim
    January 28, 2017 at 3:56 am

    i hope gawd drops a tree?oh wait? Haaaaaaa