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Texas Missed Biggest Opportunity for Marijuana Reform

MMJ Texas

The 85th Legislative session has ended in Texas without any progress on marijuana reform. The House did show a majority in favor of a couple of bills, but the session ended before votes could be taken. A decriminalization bill and full medical marijuana program bill were left hanging.

The fact that the bills even had a majority favoring them is a huge step in Texas, according to Houston Press. Politicians throughout the state seem to be shifting their opinions regarding marijuana. Some, however, don’t expect real change to happen for another 2 to 3 years.

Activists, however, are hopeful for the 2018 midterm elections. They’re also looking forward to the legislative session in 2019 when new faces are likely to be in office. A new version of House Bill 2107 is in the works by Houston NORML. They’re hoping for a representative to sponsor the bill in 2019, according to NORML spokeswoman Samantha Oser.

Oser says that progressive representatives, including those that are for marijuana reform, are needed.

Heather Fazio of Texas Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) plans on being present at Texas’ special session in July. Marijuana bills aren’t scheduled for the special session, but MPP is going to try to get a marijuana reform amendment into a piece of legislation that’s separate.

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t keen on marijuana reform efforts.

Fazio said, “When you live in a corporatist society, that’s how things happen.”

Texas cities are getting further than the state as reform has taken place, such as decriminalization, in some cities. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana earlier this year.

Polls from February show that, conducted by University of Texas/Texas Tribune, showed that 83% of Texans support medical marijuana.