Earlier this week, the Texas Legislature adjourned after its 140-day legislative session. This year's session brought successes and setbacks. Prohibitionists went to great lengths to keep the status quo and some of their reefer madness unfortunately worked.
Industrial Hemp Legalization – HB 1325 legalizes industrial hemp in Texas and establishes a regulatory structure so that Texans may soon start growing hemp.
Limited Low-THC Medical Cannabis Expansion – HB 3703 removes the two-physician requirement for a medical marijuana card and expands the qualifying conditions to include: epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, ALS, autism, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases. It does not change the 0.5% THC cap. HB 3703 is currently on Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.
What Fell Short:
Marijuana Decriminalization – HB 63, which would have replaced possible jail time with a fine, passed in the Texas House but stalled in the Texas Senate after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it his mission to kill the bill.
Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Expansion – HB 1365 would have expanded qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, increased the number of dispensaries, and established a research review board that could allow different amounts of cannabinoids. This bill passed in the Texas House but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature won't be back in session until 2021. That means two more years of patients suffering and needless arrests. We want to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make progress, including Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
Support for marijuana reform is at an all-time high so let's keep our chins up and keep pushing. Together, we can change marijuana laws in Texas.
New Approach South Dakota (NASD) is collecting signatures for a proposal to make medical marijuana legal! This ballot initiative will appear on the 2016 ballot if supporters can collect enough signatures by November 9. That’s only a week away!
To help get the measure past the finish line, contact NASD’s Melissa Mentele at email@example.com.
If the proposal appears on the 2016 ballot and is approved by the voters, it would:
-- Legalize the medical use of marijuana for patients with a medical practitioner’s certification and one of several listed conditions, including cancer, AIDS/HIV, seizure disorders, PTSD, and severe pain;
-- Allow patients and their caregivers to possess up to three ounces of cannabis and grow six plants;
-- Create a licensing system to provide patients with safe access to medical cannabis, allow businesses to process, dispense, and test medical cannabis products; and
-- Prohibit public smoking and driving under the influence of marijuana.
The full measure can be viewed here. Support for compassionate medical marijuana policy is an urgent matter for some South Dakotans. We encourage residents to contact NASD to ask how you can help support the initiative.