The Texas Republican Party announced its support of legalized industrial hemp, medical marijuana legalization and marijuana decriminalization. This is a massive shift in opinion in a traditionally marijuana-opposed state. The party also calls for the federal reclassification of marijuana.
An important position mentioned calls for an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program, Forbes reports. The party wants to allow doctors to “determine the appropriate use of cannabis to certified patients.” The shift in opinion and support for marijuana law reform by the Texas GOP is huge for the industry.
One of the positions announced reads, in part, “We support a change in the law to make it a civil, not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time.”
The GOP goes further to say that hemp is “a valuable agricultural commodity.”
Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy said, “Texas Republicans, like the majority of Americans, are ready to see more sensible marijuana policies enacted. Our state wastes valuable criminal-justice resources like arresting between 60,000 and 70,000 Texans annually. Delegates took a stand this week for a better approach.”
Fazio also said, “Under the current [medical cannabis] program, most patients are left behind. Texas conservatives are seeing the value of medical cannabis and want to see more inclusive access. Now we will take this to the Legislature for action during the 2019 legislative session.”
Texas Democrats adopted a marijuana-support platform in 2016.
The Texas GOP voted 81-percent to 19-percent to support decriminalize marijuana possession. Expansions to the Compassionate Use Act passed 90-percent to 10-percent. Support of federal reclassification passed 82-percent to 18-percent. Legalization of industrial hemp passed 83-percent to 17-percent.
The Republicans do have a powerful marijuana oppose among them though. Representative Pete Sessions is the chairman of the House Rules Committee. He’s blocked quite a few floor votes regarding marijuana issues in Congress in the last few years. He is running for re-election, but he’s not speculated to be a “shoe-in” – it’s a toss-up. The shift in party platform leaves Sessions standing nearly alone in his opposition.