A green rush is taking place coast to coast with legalizing marijuana winning big this election.
“Marijuana is more popular than politicians in almost every jurisdiction in the country,” Jake Syma with Hub City NORML said.
Legalization of marijuana was on numerous ballots.
“It won on the ballots of eight of nine states,” Syma said.
Passing recreational marijuana use in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine, while Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida approved it for medical use.
“We are now up to 28 states that allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to access cannabis, including Florida, a southern state and Arkansas, right in the middle of the bible belt,” Heather Fazio with Marijuana Policy Project said.
“It’s sort of the writing on the wall, for the direction the way things are going in this country, unless politicians get in front of it,” Syma said.
The chances of it being legalized in Texas, are still very slim. “I don’t see a legalization bill coming to Texas in the 2017 legislative session or even in the ones after that,” Syma said. Leaving advocates to look at legalization in a different light.
“In the 2017 legislative session, we are expecting to see a decriminalization bill for small personal use amounts,” Syma said.
Currently under Texas state law if found in possession of marijuana, the individual can face anywhere from 180 days to 99 years in jail.
“We are anticipating a bill being introduced by Senator Menendez of San Antonio, is going to make the Compassionate Use Program more inclusive for patients suffering from debilitating conditions,” Fazio said.
“The very limited medical marijuana program that we passed in the 2015 legislative session, that isn’t very compassionate and that no one has been able to use yet,” Syma said.
The Compassionate Use Program passed overwhelmingly last year. “It is a bill that allows limited access from those with intractable epilepsy. Unfortunately that program is leaving behind patients including those that suffer from conditions like cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. It’s especially important condition to be included considering the epidemic we are facing with regard to opiate based drugs in this country,” Fazio said.
Advocates are hoping to see the bill expand and for the possession laws to change. The legislature convenes January 10th.