Texas Advocates Release TV Ad Featuring Active Duty Police Officer and Victim of Marijuana Prohibition

A television ad in support of a bill to reduce marijuana penalties in Texas will begin airing Friday, just days before the state House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure. It can be viewed here.

The 30-second spot features Nick Novello, an active duty police officer and 23-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, and Heather Jackson of Houston, an ovarian cancer survivor who was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana in El Paso in 2007.

“Arresting people for marijuana possession does not make our…

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Texas Medical Marijuana Supporters Push for Hearings on Critical Legislation

Medical marijuana supporters outside the Texas capitol on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 (Heather Fazio)

AUSTIN, TX — A group of patients, caregivers, and medical professionals gathered at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to allow hearings on critical medical marijuana legislation.

The group called on House Public Health Committee Chairman Four Price and Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Charles Schwertner to schedule hearings on HB 2107…

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Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke introduces federal bill to curb driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses

Just five days after announcing his longshot bid to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke introduced a bill that seeks to repeal a federal law encouraging states to suspend or revoke driver’s licenses of people convicted of drug offenses.

The bipartisan Better Drive Act introduced Wednesday would repeal Section 159 of Title 23 in the United States Code, which reduces states’ highway funding by 8 percent per year if they—don’t automatically suspended the…

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Texas Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bill Advances

A proposal to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Texas received bipartisan approval from the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday and will soon be scheduled for a full vote in the House. The measure passed by a vote of 4-2, receiving support from two Democrats and two Republicans.

HB 81, authored by committee Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) with 37 co-authors, would remove the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and…

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Texas Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Advances to Floor Vote in House

AUSTIN, TX — A proposal to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Texas received bipartisan approval from the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday and will soon be scheduled for a full vote in the House.

The measure passed by a vote of 4-2, receiving support from two Democrats and two Republicans.

House Bill 81, authored by committee Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) with 37 co-sponsors, would remove the threat of…

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Texas House to Hold Hearing on Reducing Marijuana Penalties Today

AUSTIN, TX — A bill that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Texas is scheduled to receive a hearing Monday afternoon in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

“I’m proud to present HB 81 to the committee and build on the bipartisan support it’s had from the very beginning,” said Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso). “This sort of reform crosses party lines because it’s a law enforcement issue, a business…

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Houston District Attorney to Expand Policy Shielding Minor Marijuana Offenders From Jail, Criminal Records

HOUSTON, TX — Houston County District Attorney Kim Ogg has announced plans to expand a countywide program shielding marijuana possession offenders from criminal records. The county is the third largest in the nation.

Under current policy, first-time offenders found in the possession of two ounces or less of marijuana may participate in a pre-trial diversion program. Those who complete the program do not have criminal charges filed against them and do not receive a…

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Texas Legislative Sessions Begins With Efforts to Fix Medical Marijuana Law and Decriminalize Possession

The Texas Legislature convened for the 2017 session today. Rep. Joe Moody reintroduced legislation that would replace Texas’ harsh criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a simple citation. His proposal would eliminate the threat of arrest, jail time, and — most importantly — the lifelong consequences of a criminal conviction.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jose Menendez is leading the charge to fix Texas’ inadequate medical marijuana law. Effective medical marijuana programs have been created in 28 states, but Texas instead has an…

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Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation Introduced in Texas

Texas State Senator Senator José Menéndez

Texas State Senator José Menéndez has filed Senate Bill 269 to protect qualified patients who consume cannabis and to provide for the state-licensed production and distribution of the plant.

SB 269 authorizes the possession, production, and distribution of medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products to qualified patients.

Patients would receive cannabis through a network of private dispensaries and operators, similar to…

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Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Texas

On Dec. 6, Texas Senator Menéndez (D-San Antonio) pre-filed SB 269, a comprehensive medical cannabis bill. If passed, this legislation will bring safe and legal access to Texas patients with debilitating medical conditions like cancer, PTSD, chronic pain, and Crohn’s disease, among others.txas-map-flag

Last year, Texas passed the Compassionate Use Act, which was intended to allow access to low-THC cannabis for those with intractable epilepsy. Sen. Menéndez’s bill will make several improvements, including fixing a fatal flaw in the bill, allowing…

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Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill Filed in Texas for 2017

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A much anticipated comprehensive medical marijuana bill will be filed Tuesday in Texas for the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

State Senator José Menéndez (D-San Antonio), lead sponsor of the bill, made the announcement Monday.

“Twenty-eight states have recognized the medical benefit of cannabis, including conservative states like Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota,” said Senator Menéndez. “It’s time Texas steps up to the plate and provide real relief for our…

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Texas GOP Supports Medical Marijuana

Over the weekend in Dallas, the Republican Party of Texas convened for their state convention where, among other business, delegates adopted a platform to express their position on various political issues.

With support from 78% of delegates, the following is now the official position of the Texas GOP: “We call upon the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients.”TX GOP

Thanks to the work of dedicated Republican…

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Texas Dispensary in the Works, Despite Flawed CBD Law

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called “Compassionate Use Act” into law last year, and now, despite obvious logistical problems with the measure, at least one company is putting a plan into action to open a CBD dispensary about an hour north of Dallas.

Patrick Moran, the CEO of AquiFlow, is hoping to open the dispensary in the small hamlet of Gunter, population roughly 1,500. On Wednesday, he held a town hall meeting to talk to residents about his plans, according to a local NBC…

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Federal Agents Seizing Far Less Marijuana At Southern Border

Federal Agents Seizing Far Less Marijuana At Southern Border

Is less marijuana entering the US from Mexico today than in years past? According to newly released data provided by the US Border Patrol, the answer may be ‘yes.’

Federal statistics reveal that law enforcement seized an estimated 1.5 million pounds of marijuana at the US/Mexico border in 2015.

That total is the lowest amount reported in a decade and continues a steady year-by-year decline in seizure volume that began in 2009, when nearly 4 million tons of cannabis were confiscated.

Overall, 99.8 percent of all marijuana seized by federal…

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Over 1 Ton of Marijuana Disguised as Limes Seized at Border

Over 1 Ton of Marijuana Disguised as Limes Seized at Border

PHARR, TX — First carrots, now limes.  For the second time this month, border cops have seized over a ton of suspected marijuana disguised as fresh produce.

According to a press release issued Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge uncovered a substantial amount of marijuana disguised as limes while inspecting a commercial import shipment of fresh limes arriving from Mexico on January 15.

Officers…

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Over 1 Ton of Pot Disguised as Carrots Seized at US Border

Over 1 Ton of Pot Disguised as Carrots Seized at US Border

PHARR, TX — Well, that’s one way to get people to eat their vegetables.

Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they seized 2,493 pounds of marijuana hidden in a shipment of carrots earlier this week.

According to a press release issued Wednesday, CBP officers assigned to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility encountered a tractor trailer truck loaded with a commercial shipment of fresh carrots arriving from Mexico on…

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Texas Marijuana Advocacy Training Event Sunday in Lubbock

Texas Marijuana Advocacy Training Event Sunday in Lubbock

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

LUBBOCK, TX — Local marijuana policy reform advocates will gather Sunday, January 10, for an advocacy training event at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites South in Lubbock.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, will be the seventh in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state…

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Texas Marijuana Advocacy Training Event Saturday in Amarillo

Texas Marijuana Advocacy Training Event Saturday in Amarillo

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

AMARILLO, TX — Local marijuana policy reform advocates will gather Saturday, January 9, for an advocacy  training event at the Amarillo Southwest Library in Amarillo.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the sixth in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative…

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Houston: Marijuana Advocacy Training Event Saturday with Former Police Officer

Houston: Marijuana Advocacy Training Event Saturday with Former Police Officer

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

HOUSTON, TX — Local marijuana policy reform advocates, including a former police officer and the head of the Texas Young Republicans, will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center in Houston.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the fifth in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort…

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Veterans Conference in Houston will Discuss Medical Marijuana and PTSD

Veterans Conference in Houston will Discuss Medical Marijuana and PTSD

HOUSTON, TX — Veterans will gather in Houston this Saturday for an educational seminar discussing medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD, chronic pain and other service-related conditions.

The conference is being organized by the Houston chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and will feature a distinguished lineup of special guest speakers.

The event’s primary organizer, Christopher Sum, a U.S. Army veteran and marijuana reform advocate says the conference is aimed to educate veterans and others…

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Texas Veterans Want Access to Medical Marijuana

Texas Veterans Want Access to Medical Marijuana

Texas Veterans to Gather at State Capitol on Veterans Day to Launch ‘Operation Trapped;’ Group Wants Legal Access to Medical Marijuana — a Safer Alternative to Many Prescription Drugs — for PTSD, TBI, and Other Service-related Conditions

AUSTIN, TX — Texas veterans and their supporters will gather in front of the Vietnam Veterans Monument at the Texas State Capitol at 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Veterans Day, to announce the launch of Operation Trapped. The monument is located on the northeast side of the Capitol grounds near the corner…

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Texas Marijuana Activists Mobilizing Statewide in Advance of 2016 State Legislative Races

Texas Marijuana Activists Mobilizing Statewide in Advance of 2016 State Legislative Races

First of several regional advocacy training events will be held Saturday in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, TX — Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy will hold an advocacy training event Saturday in San Antonio that will mark the beginning of a statewide effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races.

Regional events are also scheduled for Dallas on October 31, Corpus Christi on November 7, East Texas on December 5, and Houston on December 12.

“Comprehensive marijuana reform saw tremendous progress this…

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Poll: Less Than 20% of Texans Want Jail Time for Marijuana Possession

Poll: Less Than 20% of Texans Want Jail Time for Marijuana Possession

AUSTIN, TX — Nearly three out of four Texans support reforming the Lone Star State’s current marijuana laws, according to a statewide poll released Wednesday.

According to an independent statewide poll conducted earlier this month by the Texas Lyceum, a non-partisan, nonprofit statewide leadership group, just under 75% of those surveyed believe that marijuana should either be legalized or decriminalized.

The poll found that among Texas adults, only 19.5% are opposed to both the legalization and/or the decriminalization of…

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Houston NORML Calls on Harris County Sheriff, District Attorney to Act on Illegal Body Cavity Search

Houston NORML Calls on Harris County Sheriff, District Attorney to Act on Illegal Body Cavity Search

HOUSTON, TX – Representatives from two organizations advocating for criminal justice reform in Houston will hold a press conference Thursday calling for Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman to immediately take administrative action against three sheriff’s deputies who forcibly conducted an illegal body cavity search on a woman in Houston.

The organizations will also call for Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson to investigate the allegation and file any necessary criminal charges against the deputies involved.

The organizations…

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Texas Governor Signs ‘Unworkable’ Medical Marijuana Bill

Texas Governor Signs ‘Unworkable’ Medical Marijuana Bill

AUSTIN, TX — As expected, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 339 into law on Monday, a measure aimed at allowing individuals with intractable epilepsy access to cannabidiol (CBD oil) to treat seizures, although advocates say the bill is ‘unworkable’ as enacted.

“There is currently no cure for intractable epilepsy and many patients have had little to no success with currently approved drugs,” Abbott said in a signing statement issued Monday. “However, we have seen promising results from CBD oil testing and with the…

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Texas House Passes Flawed CBD Bill

Texas House Passes Flawed CBD Bill

Monday evening, the Texas State House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 339 with a vote of 96-34. The bill seeks to allow patients with intractable epilepsy to access cannabis oil containing high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, and only trace levels of THC.

On a certain level, the legislature should be commended for acknowledging the medical value of marijuana, and it is an historic vote in that sense.

Unfortunately, SB 339, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), is extremely unlikely to provide patients with relief because it…

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‘Unworkable’ Medical Marijuana Bill Passes in Texas

‘Unworkable’ Medical Marijuana Bill Passes in Texas

AUSTIN, TX — Lawmakers in the Texas House voted 96 to 34 on Monday to approve a bill intended to allow patients with intractable seizure conditions to access some forms of medical marijuana, but advocates say the bill is unworkable.

Senate Bill 339, Texas Compassionate Use Act, was approved last week by the Senate, and now heads to Republican Governor Greg Abbott for final approval.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), will only allow “low-THC cannabis” which is defined in the bill by containing less than .5%…

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Marijuana Decriminalization; Legalization Bills Die in Texas

Marijuana Decriminalization; Legalization Bills Die in Texas

AUSTIN, TX — Two bills aimed at reforming marijuana laws in Texas have died in the legislature, when the deadline for advancing bills out of committee for consideration by the House passed last week.

Both bills, one that would have decriminalized marijuana possession and one that would have legalized marijuana for adults, were left pending in the House Calendar Committee when committee chair Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) refused to schedule the bills for consideration by the full House.

House Bill 507, introduced by Rep. Joe Moody…

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Texas Senate Passes ‘Unworkable’ Medical Marijuana Bill

Texas Senate Passes ‘Unworkable’ Medical Marijuana Bill

AUSTIN, TX — Lawmakers in the Texas Senate approved a bill Thursday intended to allow patients with intractable seizure conditions to access some forms of medical marijuana, but advocates say the bill is unworkable in its current form.

Senate Bill 339, Texas Compassionate Use Act, was approved Thursday by a vote of 26 to 5, sending the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration.  An identical companion bill, House Bill 892 has already received a favorable recommendation from a key House committee, which could expedite the…

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Limited High-CBD/Low-THC Medical Mairijuana Bills Advance in Texas

Limited High-CBD/Low-THC Medical Mairijuana Bills Advance in Texas

AUSTIN, TX — Lawmakers in both chambers of the Texas legislature have given preliminary approval to companion legislation to allow the use medical marijuana extracts rich in cannabidoil (CBD) for patients suffering from uncontrollable epilepsy, advancing the bills out of committee and sending them to the floor of their respective chambers for a vote.

House Bill 892, co-sponsored by 11 Republicans and 5 Democrats, was approved by an 8-1 vote in the House Public Health Committee on Monday.  Meanwhile, Senate Bill 339 was approved by a…

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