Creeper Pace for Texas Medical Marijuana Program

It has been a long, slow ride for patients hoping to get access to cannabis in the Lone Star State—and then, just special strains of low-THC cannabis and only for those suffering from “intractable epilepsy.”

Three dispensaries are hoping to get final approval from Texas authorities to start cultivating next month. Of course, it will be several more months before they can actually begin distributing—and then ambiguities in the law may mean further delays.

Activists and lawmakers are pushing both to clear things up and expand the scope of the program.

Read more at High Times

How Texas Tested Psychedelics on Death Row Inmates

Imagine you are an adult of the 1950s. Since this thought exercise places you in a saloon, let’s assume you are male. You have a crewcut and a wardrobe consisting of dark slacks and short-sleeved white shirts. Your drink of choice is bourbon and soda—and that’s your lone tipple.

Drugs are unthinkable. The mere mention of the word “reefer” conjures images of insanity, social decay and jazz musicians. (That speed habit you picked up during the war, when government-issued Benzedrine was available in your medical kit, doesn’t count.)

And then, one fateful night, after you knock back a tumbler of brown liquor, you smack your empty glass down on the bar—and everything, the glass, the bar and your hand, starts to melt and run together in a technicolor hellscape, all while a government agent—dressed exactly like you—watches and takes notes as your mind unspools and your reality comes apart.

Read more at High Times

Who Killed Marijuana Reform in Texas?

The vast majority of Texans want existing marijuana policy reformed—or, preferably, done away with entirely. Results from a poll in February revealed less than 20 percent support for keeping cannabis outright illegal. More Texans want outright marijuana legalization than support the current status quo.

The change in attitude is coming thanks to other states legalizing, but also to widespread awareness that, hey, this stuff is really medicine. Earlier this year, a Texas family whose daughter suffers from severe autism recorded a video demonstrating this notion for anyone with eyes.

But you can’t go from red-state prohibition straight to marijuana legalization. (Or at least no one does.)

Read more at High Times

Time Runs Out on Marijuana Reform Bills in Texas

A bill can be killed in a number of ways—obstruction, feet dragging, amendments, procedural snags or getting talked to death in a filibuster, to name a few.

In the case of Texas’ medical marijuana and decriminalization bills, even though they both had enough support to pass, they never even came up for a vote before time ran out last Thursday night at midnight.

What happened?

Read more at High Times

Texas: HB 2107 Stalls at the Deadline – A Letter from Texas NORML Executive Director

Fellow Texans,

It is with a heavy heart that I write you. I must inform you that the deadline for a bill to be put on the House Agenda for the floor expired last night at 10pm. While HB 81 did make it on to the agenda before the deadline, HB 2107 did not.

This was due to the paperwork not being completed for it’s enrollment in calendars with enough time, completed less than 3 hours before the deadline to be placed on the agenda. With no special Calendars meeting called to hear it’s addition, HB 2107 was not able to progress and is no longer a viable option in it’s form. However, it’s two main authors, Rep Lucio III and Rep Isaac, have promised to continue to look for avenues to codify protections for patients as this legislative session continues. You can also read this touching letter from them.Texas NORML will diligently support any attempts made to enact protections for patients in the upcoming weeks.

Read more at NORML

Historic: Decriminalization is Scheduled to Be Heard on the Texas House Floor

On May 11, new ground will be broken in Texas politics and the marijuana movement.

HB 81, to decriminalize marijuana from jail time to a simple ticket, will be heard by the full Texas House.

This is unprecedented as sensible sentencing reform has not been debated from the house floor since 1973, , when Texas changed their laws to their current state (previously, you could face life in jail for small amounts of possession).

Read more at NORML

Radical Rant: Erasing Hate in Texas

This weekend I flew to Fort Worth, Texas, to participate in my fifth North Texas Marijuana March, coinciding with the Global Cannabis March.

Teamwork Works

I’m always impressed by the marijuana activism in Texas. Led by executive director Shaun McAlister, the Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of NORML is an exemplar for effective grassroots politics. This organization rebuts every complaint I’ve ever heard from aspiring activists about being unable to make any progress on marijuana reform because they’re living in a red state.

Read more at High Times

Texas Hopes Crickets Like Cannabis Oil

Many Texans hope the state legislature will get serious about legalizing a comprehensive medical marijuana program during the 2017 session, but most have forgotten that the state is close to rolling out a scheme to distribute low-THC cannabis oil for epilepsy patients.

A recent report from the Austin Business Journal suggests that the “bullish” attitude toward legal marijuana in the Lone Star State could be on the verge of falling by the wayside, as many state lawmakers and other naysayers of the cannabis legalization movement prepare to witness the unveiling of the state’s first privately-owned marijuana businesses.

As of the first of May, the Texas Department of Public Safety has selected three companies (Surterra Texas, Cansortium Texas and Compassionate Cultivation) to “cultivate, extract and dispense” a non-intoxicating form of cannabis known as cannabidiol (CBD oil), which can have no more than 0.5 percent THC, according to rules of the Compassionate Use Act.

Read more at High Times

Houston’s District Attorney Defends Move to Decriminalize Marijuana

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushes his tough-on-weed agenda, one Texas District Attorney is sticking to her decision to decriminalize small amounts of pot.

Kim Ogg, Houston’s first Democratic DA in nearly four decades, lost no time in declaring that she was not interested in locking up people for small amounts of pot.

While federal criminal justice reform has lagged on a national level for years, many local, recently elected officials are stepping up to the plate.

Read more at High Times