All posts by Heather Fazio

Texas Rep. Eddie Lucio III Continues Push for Medical Cannabis

In 2015, our legislature passed the Compassionate Use Act (SB 339), a bill that allows limited access to cannabis for those with a very rare form of epilepsy.

Last year, Texas State Rep. Eddie Lucio III authored and championed a bill (HB 2107) that would have made medical cannabis available to those with a variety debilitating health conditions. While the proposal was ultimately unsuccessful, it did earn bipartisan support from more than half of the Texas House of Representatives, including three of the four members who are physicians by trade.

Stephen Sealey of ValleyCentral.com reports that Rep. Lucio III continues his work on this issue:

State Rep. Eddie Lucio III pushes for legalized medical cannabis

Read full story here: http://valleycentral.com/news/local/lois-riess-released-to-the-state-of-florida

WATCH LIVE: Texas House Committee Discussing Marijuana Policies

Today in El Paso, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee is discussing the following interim charge, as assigned by the Speaker of the House:

Interim Charge 3: Study current practices for the enforcement of criminal laws against low-level possession of marijuana. Examine the use of alternative punishments and improvements to criminal enforcement mechanisms and community supervision.

The committee is hearing invited testimony from local officials and advocates.

WATCH LIVE HERE: http://www.citytvep.com/watch

 

New Poll: Texans (still) support legalizing low-level marijuana possession

According to a poll released today by Quinnipiac University, by a 2-1 margin, Texas voters support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

This new poll reiterates what we have known for some time — Texans are ready for reform!

With bi-partisan support, Chairman Joseph Moody has taken a leadership role on this subject, introducing a “civil penalties” bill during the last two legislative sessions. The proposal would institute a civil citation to replace the arrest, jail time, and criminal record currently associated with small amounts of marijuana.

Last year, Chairman Moody’s bill passed out of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and was scheduled for a vote by the Texas House of Representatives, but was beat by the clock. Our Texas Legislature will reconvene in January, offering advocates another chance to pass meaningful reform in the Lone Star State.

Sign up for email updates and action alerts: https://www.texasmarijuanapolicy.org/get-involved/

Split Decisions: Here’s what the Democrats running to represent House District 46 – East Austin, Pflugerville and Manor – have to say about legalizing marijuana.

via @TexasTribune on Twitter

For a full list of who’s on the primary runoff ballots, visit: http://bit.ly/2pNU014

Confirmed! Rep. Lucio III and Judge Gonzales will join advocates at Brownsville marijuana policy workshop event.

We’re excited to announce that State Rep. Eddie Lucio III and Cameron County Judge David Gonzales will join us at our upcoming advocacy workshop in Brownsville!

Marijuana policy reform is on the move in Texas thanks to advocates and dedicated legislators throughout the state. Individuals sharing personal or professional experience with lawmakers have brought about unprecedented progress at the Texas Capitol. Let’s keep up the momentum!

We’re hosting an event in Brownsville to empower individuals like you who want to effectively advocate for reform in Texas. Register now to secure your seat.

Special Guests: Rep. Eddie Lucio III and Judge David Gonzales!

Saturday, January 27
Brownsville Public Library – Main
2600 Central Blvd
Brownsville, Texas 78520
1 – 5 p.m.

WHAT TO BRING (optional, but encouraged):
Rough draft of your personal reasons to advocate for reform and laptop.

These hands-on workshops will provide an opportunity to:

-review the political process and learn how you fit in,
-identify effective arguments for discussing marijuana law reform, and
-craft your personal message to lawmakers.

Once you’ve registered, please invite others who are interested in advancing Liberty by reforming Texas’ unreasonable marijuana laws. You can also follow the workshop series’ live updates on our event page.

(Register using the form above.)

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

Marijuana policy reform is on the move in Texas thanks to advocates throughout the state. Individuals sharing personal or professional experiences with lawmakers in a skilled way have brought about unprecedented progress at the Texas Capitol. Let’s keep up the momentum!

We’re hosting a series of events throughout the state to empower individuals who want to effectively advocate for reform in Texas. We’ll be visiting a city near you — register now to secure your seat.

These hands-on workshops will provide an opportunity to:

-review the political process and learn how you fit in,
-identify effective arguments for discussing marijuana law reform, and
-craft your personal message to lawmakers.

Once you’ve registered, please invite others who are interested in advancing Liberty by reforming Texas’ unreasonable marijuana laws. You can also follow the workshop series’ live updates on our event page.

Workshop Series Schedule and Registration


Midland

Midland Lions Club

Tuesday, Jan. 16
6 – 8 p.m.
Midland — Details and Registration

Amarillo

Amarillo Public Library

Thursday, Jan. 18
6 – 8 p.m.
Amarillo — Details and Registration

Arlington

Pantego Lions Club
Saturday, Jan. 20
1 – 4 p.m.
Arlington — Details and Registration

Nacogdoches

Meet and Greet,
No Workshop

Liberty Bell

Tuesday, Jan. 23
6 – 8 p.m.
Details
(No Registration Necessary)

Beaumont

Beaumont Public Library

Wednesday, Jan. 24
6 – 8 p.m.
Beaumont — Details and Registration

Houston

Trini Mendenhall

Community Center
Thursday, Jan. 25
6 – 8 p.m.
Houston — Details and Registration

Corpus Christi

Location: TBA
Friday, Jan. 26
6 – 8 p.m.
Corpus Christi — Details and Registration

Brownsville

(Townhall and Workshop)

Brownsville Public Library
Saturday, Jan. 27
1 – 5 p.m.
Brownsville — Details and Registration

San Antonio

San Antonio Public Library
Monday, Jan. 29
6 – 8 p.m.
San Antonio — Details and Registration

Texas Veterans Call for Medical Access to Cannabis and an End to Federal Interference

On Friday, Texas veterans from across the state called on federal leaders to protect state medical cannabis programs and allow VA doctors to recommend cannabis in states where it’s legal.

(Texas: Tell Congress to help veterans and patients!)

DALLAS, Texas — Military veterans and medical marijuana advocates gathered on Friday in support of a recently launched mobile billboard and bring attention to federal legislation that could help veterans gain access to medical marijuana. The event is also meant to pressure Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) to stop interfering with marijuana-related federal budget amendments. Speakers included a number of military veterans, including Keith Crooks, a retired Air Force Major.

In September, Rep. Sessions spearheaded an effort in the House Rules Committee that resulted in two marijuana policy amendments being ruled “out of order”: one that would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to discuss or recommend medical marijuana to their patients and another that would continue to prevent the Department of Justice from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. This deprived the rest of the House from considering these amendments, including representatives from Texas whose constituents could be affected by their absence from the FY2018 budget.

“As a registered Republican, I would like to remind Congressman Sessions that the Republican Party of Texas supports state-level access to medical cannabis,” said Keith Crooks, a retired Air Force Major and forensic scientist. “We believe that it is our state’s right to offer this important medical freedom to our citizens. Therefore, Congress should respect states’ rights and allow them to regulate cannabis as they see fit.”

Presently, VA doctors are not permitted to discuss medical marijuana with their patients, forcing many veterans to go to other doctors in order to learn about it or obtain a recommendation that would allow them to participate in a medical marijuana program. This policy can limit their treatment options to powerful, potentially addictive prescription drugs, and causes financial and other hardships for those veterans who seek out non-VA providers.

“Cannabis replaces half of the eight pharmaceutical drugs I take regularly and should be legal for medical use,” said Juliet Giglio, a third-generation military veteran who lives in Rep. Sessions’ district. “It is unacceptable that our federal government, including my own congressman, would have veterans and other patients suffer while there is a better, safer alternative.”

Advocates are currently encouraging Texans to contact their lawmakers, Rep. Sessions, and Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) to urge them to help veterans and protect state rights regarding medical marijuana. Rep. Culberson is a member of the congressional appropriations conference committee that will make the final determination of whether to include the marijuana amendments in the budget bill this year.

“Texas veterans are standing up against propaganda and in support of cannabis as a viable alternative to dangerous and addictive opiates and psychotropics,” said David Bass, a retired Army Major.

Texas Veterans and Medical Marijuana Advocates to Host News Conference

Event will feature new mobile billboard, bring attention to Rep. Pete Sessions’ interference with beneficial legislation that would protect state medical marijuana programs and improve access for veterans

* Photo opportunity at event; billboard image included below *

DALLAS, Texas — Military veterans and medical marijuana advocates will host a press conference on Friday in support of a recently launched mobile billboard and bring attention to federal legislation that could help veterans gain access to medical marijuana. The event, which is taking place in Anderson Bonner Park in Dallas at 11 a.m. CT on the observation of Veterans Day (November 10), is also meant to pressure Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) to stop interfering with marijuana-related federal budget amendments. Speakers will include a number of military veterans, including Keith Crooks, a retired Air Force Major.

In September, Rep. Sessions spearheaded an effort in the House Rules Committee that resulted in two marijuana policy amendments being ruled “out of order”: one that would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to discuss or recommend medical marijuana to their patients and another that would continue to prevent the Department of Justice from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. This deprived the rest of the House from considering these amendments, including representatives from Texas whose constituents could be affected by their absence from the FY2018 budget.

“As a registered Republican, I would like to remind Congressman Sessions that the Republican Party of Texas supports state-level access to medical cannabis,” said Keith Crooks, a retired Air Force Major and forensic scientist. “We believe that it is our state’s right to offer this important medical freedom to our citizens. Therefore, Congress should respect states’ rights and allow them to regulate cannabis as they see fit.”

Presently, VA doctors are not permitted to discuss medical marijuana with their patients, forcing many veterans to go to other doctors in order to learn about it or obtain a recommendation that would allow them to participate in a medical marijuana program. This policy can limit their treatment options to powerful, potentially addictive prescription drugs, and causes financial and other hardships for those veterans who seek out non-VA providers.

“Cannabis replaces half of the eight pharmaceutical drugs I take regularly and should be legal for medical use,” said Juliet Giglio, a third-generation military veteran who lives in Rep. Sessions’ district. “It is unacceptable that our federal government, including my own congressman, would have veterans and other patients suffer while there is a better, safer alternative.”

Advocates are currently encouraging Texans to contact their lawmakers, Rep. Sessions, and Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) to urge them to help veterans and protect state rights regarding medical marijuana. Rep. Culberson is a member of the congressional appropriations conference committee that will make the final determination of whether to include the marijuana amendments in the budget bill this year.

“Texas veterans are standing up against propaganda and in support of cannabis as a viable alternative to dangerous and addictive opiates and psychotropics,” said David Bass, a retired Army Major.

WHAT: Press conference to highlight recently launched mobile billboard in support of veterans who could benefit from medical marijuana and call attention to Rep. Pete Session’s interference with federal legislation that could help them

WHEN: Friday, November 10 at 11 a.m. CT

WHERE: Anderson Bonner Park, 12000 Park Central Drive, Dallas

WHO: Keith Crooks, U.S. Air Force Major (ret.)
Amanda Berard, veteran and pediatric nurse
Juliet Giglio, veteran
Joshua Raines, veteran with intractable epilepsy
Representatives of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy

# # #

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is a broad coalition of organizations, activists, and community leaders dedicated to realizing effective, efficient, and evidence-based marijuana policies in Texas. For more information, visit https://www.TexasMarijuanaPolicy.org.

Act now: State-legal medical cannabis programs are in jeopardy!

Protect cannabis patients from federal interference. Contact the decision-makers now!
Since 2014, Congress has prohibited the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis programs. With an Attorney General who thinks “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” the provision is more vital than ever. But unless Congress acts to renew the provision, it will expire in 30 days!
Please take action now! Click here to automatically contact your federal representative and Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston), who sits on the committee that will make the final determination of what goes in the budget. A message will also be sent to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas), who prevented these amendments from being included in the House version of the budget.
Let’s urge Congress to protect veterans, medical marijuana patients, and states’ rights.Click here to take action! Please forward this email to other Texans so that together we can ensure that patients have safe and legal access to cannabis in states that allow it.

Texas House committee tasked with studying marijuana laws

Let your legislators know a fine — not an arrest and possible jail time —  is a more sensible approach to simple possession!

Although the Texas legislature does not reconvene until 2019, marijuana policy reform is on its agenda in the interim! Yesterday, Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced “interim charges” that committees will look into between legislative sessions — including by holding hearings and reporting back — and one of them is marijuana policy.

The House Criminal Justice Committee, led by Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso), will “study current practices for the enforcement of criminal laws against low-level possession of marijuana” and “examine the use of alternative punishments and improvements to criminal enforcement mechanisms and community supervision.”

The subject is familiar to both Chairman Moody and his fellow committee members. Earlier this year, the committee heard testimony on and ultimately passed House Bill 81, Chairman Moody’s proposal to replace criminal penalties with a simple citation/ fine for low-level marijuana possession. The bill died after it did not receive a floor vote.

Please stay tuned for opportunities to be part of this important conversation between legislative sessions, during which time an estimated 120,000 Texans will be arrested for marijuana possession.

Contact your legislators today in support of more sensible marijuana policies for Texas! Then, pass this on to other Texans who support humane marijuana policies.