Marijuana law reform is sweeping the nation and causing heavy debate throughout Texas.
The debate is coming from local and state political groups, politicians and others who have opposing opinions about legalizing marijuana in Texas.
On one side is The National Organization to Reform Marijuana laws, or NORML They support the regulation of marijuana in Texas.
On the other side is anti-marijuana group such as The Sheriff’s Association of Texas Legislative Committee, which has openly opposed any change to Texas marijuana laws.
“Our Texas sheriffs will send a loud and clear message to the Legislature that we firmly oppose the legalization of marijuana,” said Denton County Sheriff Will Travis in an interview with The Dallas Morning News on July 29. “We must protect the children and families of Texas from any effort to legalize marijuana.”
NORML member Janice Coring said that even sick children could benefit from medical marijuana in Texas. There are epileptic kids that are turning to marijuana for medication.
“They are going from 50 seizures a day, to one seizure a day on cannabis oil, so why is it still illegal.”
Attitudes about marijuana legalization have slowly changed over the last ten years. In the past ten years 23 states have passed laws to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
Two other states, Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Anyone who is twenty-one years or older can legally buy marijuana to use for any purpose.
Unlike the other half of the United States, Texas currently has no medical marijuana policies and no bills are being presented this year to Texas lawmakers, said The Marijuana Policy Project on their website, mpp.org, on Sept. 6.
DFW NORML has been fighting to end marijuana prohibition by lobbying senators to vote on behalf of pro-marijuana bills for 2015, said dfwnorml.org on Sept. 6.
NORML is using the political marijuana platform to support current Texas political leaders and pro-marijuana candidates running for various Texas offices.
Marijuana prohibition promotes a generational fight between the public and law enforcement, said normal member Larry Tally.
“We as Texans need to urge our leaders to pass legislation that will tax and regulate the sale, production and distribution of marijuana,” said Tally.
Finance senior at the University of Houston, Victoria Banjo, who is against the legalization of marijuana, said on dailycougar.com in 2013 “Just because marijuana has never killed anyone, I believe that it could still have harmful long-term side effects on the human body.”
Many Texans support legalizing marijuana. Public Policy Polling, which published in Oct. 2013, found that 58 percent of Texans “support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol.” Even more 61 percent were in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession and instead punishing violations with a civil citation, according to huffingtonpost.com.
Even some prominent Texas conservatives support legalizing marijuana.
In January, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for the state to move toward decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana in Texas, said MPP, Sept. 3.
Soon other political leaders followed Perry’s lead. On Feb. 11, Fort Worth gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis took marijuana policy reform in Texas one step further and indicated her support not only for decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, but also for medical marijuana for seriously ill patients, said MPP, June 7.
Future and past political leaders are speaking out for marijuana reform. James A. Baker III, former Chief of Staff under Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush believes that “the question is no longer if Texas will legalize, but when?”
“I believe that a bill that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol can be achieved in the next three years,” Baker said on a blog page for the Houston Chronicle blog.chron.com, June 3.
“The amount of tax revenue being generated for shows how much money is being taken out of the black market and put into a regulated market”, he said. “People realized that the sky hasn’t fallen in Colorado.”