Gov. Abbott: Stop arrests for marijuana possession, then legalize it!

Preserve Resources | Protect Law Enforcement | Generate Revenue

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are having to re-evaluate how we operate as a state. This includes the way we do business and how we choose to utilize resources. Our united goals are to keep Texans safe and keep our economy moving. 

We are calling on Governor Greg Abbott to take the following actions to protect law enforcement officials, preserve valuable public safety resources, and generate much needed revenue as our economy adjusts to this crisis: 

Immediate Action
Moratorium on All Marijuana Possession Arrests

Special Session
Legalize Marijuana for Adults and Expand Medical Access

Ask Governor Abbott: For a safer Texas, please institute a statewide moratorium on arrests for small amounts of marijuana and call a special session to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult use.

Immediate Action

The governor can use executive orders to trigger emergency powers during natural disasters, energy crises, and other situations requiring immediate attention.

Immediately order a statewide moratorium on arrests for small amounts of marijuana (flower and concentrates) to protect law enforcement and stop unnecessary arrests, especially during this public health crisis. Our jails cannot take any needless crowding.

In Dallas, one detention service officer and 10 inmates have already tested positive for COVID-19. In Houston, one man has tested positive, 30 are showing symptoms, and 500 have been exposed. In San Antonio, one officer has tested positive for COVID-19. He was in contact with several of his colleagues and as many as 30 drivers during traffic stops.

While the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has protocols in place, no one wants to see their resources strained or lives jeopardized. 

The Department of Public Safety has reported as many as 80,000 people charged with minor possession in a single year. Adjusting current policy will mean fewer unnecessary interactions between the public and law enforcement, protecting police officers, correctional workers, and our county jail population.

Special Session

The governor may call a special session at any time and for any reason, stating his purpose in the proclamation calling legislators to convene. 

When it’s safe to do so, we’d like Governor Abbott to call a Special Session dedicated to legalizing marijuana for adult use (21+) and expanding our state’s medical cannabis program.

1) Allow legal sales of marijuana to adults (21+) using our state’s current regulatory infrastructure as instituted through the Texas Department of Public Safety. This change and the revenue it will generate, which is supported by a majority of Texans, will help offset the extraordinary costs of fighting COVID-19. 

Currently, sales of marijuana are illegal, relegating consumers to the multi-billion-dollar black market industry. Not only are products unregulated (and sometimes unsafe), but Texas is missing out on millions in now desperately needed tax revenue. Our state would be better off regulating marijuana, ensuring that products are tested, labeled, and sold by licensed Texas businesses. 

Estimated state tax revenue is $1 billion, and consumers will be able to rely on Texas-grown and Texas-tested cannabis, rather than risky imports.

2) Expand access to the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) for patients whose doctors think medical cannabis can help. Several states have listed access to medical cannabis as an “essential” while other businesses are being closed. It is imperative that patients have access to medicine that offers fewer side effects and lower costs than many pharmaceuticals.

  • Allow all state-licensed physicians to recommend/prescribe cannabis under TCUP.
  • Allow private labs to become licensed to test TCUP products.
  • Allow doctors flexibility on dosing by removing the arbitrary cap currently placed on THC to allow patients access to the full spectrum of cannabis medicine.
  • Allow distribution hubs for licensed businesses delivering medicine statewide. 

Governor Abbott has extraordinary authority during times of crisis. We are asking him to use this power for a safer and stronger Texas!

Please consider making a donation toward our work to reform Texas’ marijuana laws. Thank you for your support!

Photo Credit: Texas Tribune