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texans for responsible marijuana policy

Texas: Slow Paperwork Prevents Medical Marijuana Vote

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Texas legislature failed to pass a medical marijuana regime before the end of session and the failure was due to the Calendars Committee not receiving paperwork for the bill on time, according to the Texas Cannabis Report.

The report says that the measure was not heard by the Public Health Committee until one week before the end of the legislative session. By the end of that hearing, 77 of the House’s 150 members had signed on in support — enough to pass the bill. The committee passed the bill on Friday.

Heather Fazio, a member of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said that Health Committee Chair Rep. Four Price might have had “his heart and mind” opened by the testimony at the hearing.

“He still wasn’t ready to vote for the bill himself, but he was attentive during the hearing and demonstrated exceptional character when he allowed the bill to be voted on by the committee,” Fazio said in the report.

The Calendar Committee said the paperwork had not arrived on Monday, meaning they were unable to schedule the bill that day. The paperwork arrived Tuesday, but that was too late for the House to take it up. The next opportunity to revisit the legislation is 2019 as the Texas legislature meets every other year from January through May.

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather In Amarillo, Lubbock For Training

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

Local marijuana policy reform advocates will gather Saturday (in Amarillo) and Sunday (in Lubbock) for advocacy training events.

The Amarillo event, on Saturday, January 9, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Amarillo Southwest Library, 6801 SW 44th Ave. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-amarillo/.

The Lubbock event, on Sunday, January 10, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites South, 6506 I-27 South. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-lubbock/.

The events, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, are the sixth and 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 legislative races.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a miserable failure, and we want to give concerned Texans the tools to help enact sensible marijuana policy reform,” said Heather Fazio, a spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “Our communities should not be using their limited law enforcement resources to criminalize adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather Saturday For Advocacy Training

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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 to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled in Amarillo on January 9 and Lubbock on January 10.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be David Clark, a former police officer from South Carolina and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

"If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to reduce the harms to society caused by drugs, then prohibition should be illegal, not marijuana," said Clark. "It should be illegal to waste so many law enforcement resources arresting and charging nonviolent adults for using marijuana. It should be illegal to divert the focus of our police away from violent and property crimes, which should always take priority."

Joining David Clark will be John Baucum, political director of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition and recently elected chairman of the Texas Young Republicans.

Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/training-houston/.

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather Saturday For Advocacy Training

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

Local marijuana policy reform advocates -- including an active-duty Dallas police officer -- will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce in Tyler.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the fourth 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 races. Regional events are also scheduled for Houston on December 12, Amarillo on January 9, and Lubbock on January 10.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Nick Novello, an officer with the Dallas Police Department and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 3:30 p.m. CT, and he will be available for interviews immediately after.

“I work toward marijuana legalization because, as an active police officer, I have an obligation to improve public safety and protect my community,” Officer Novello said. “Regulation and education will focus police resources on more important crimes and make the drug more difficult for children to get. By every measure, marijuana prohibition has failed. Safer communities are within reach.”

Texas: Veterans Gather At State Capitol To Launch 'Operation Trapped' Supporting Medical Marijuana

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At Veterans Day event, Air Force, Army, and Navy veterans urge state officials to pass legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to many prescription drugs — for PTSD, TBI, and other service-related conditions

Texas veterans and their supporters on Wednesday -- Veterans Day -- gathered in front of the Vietnam Veterans Monument at the Texas State Capitol to announce the launch of a campaign advocating for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.

Operation Trapped, backed by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is a veteran-based campaign to build support for legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to prescription drugs — for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.

“Veterans have sacrificed greatly to serve and protect our nation,” said David Bass of Killeen, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. “It’s time to serve and protect the many soldiers who have returned home with debilitating conditions that would benefit greatly from medical marijuana. The goal of this campaign is to give those veterans a voice and get Texas legislators to listen.”

At the event, the campaign displayed several empty prescription pill bottles it has collected from supportive Texas veterans to represent those who are suffering from serious medical conditions that could be relieved by medical marijuana.

Texas: Veterans To Gather At Capitol On Veterans Day To Demand Medical Marijuana

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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

News Conference Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT in front of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument

Veterans are beginning a collection of supportive veterans’ prescription pill bottles to highlight the need for legal access to medical marijuana

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, November 11, Veterans Day, to announce the launch of Operation Trapped. The monument is located on the northeast side of the Capitol grounds near the corner of 14th Street and Brazos Street.

Operation Trapped, backed by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is a veteran-based campaign intended to build support for legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to prescription drugs — for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.

Texas: Former Corrections Officer To Join Marijuana Policy Reformers For Advocacy Training Event

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

Local marijuana policy reform activists, including a former Texas corrections officer, will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Janet F. Harte Library in Corpus Christi.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the third 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 races. Regional events are also scheduled for East Texas on December 5 and Houston on December 12. Last month, activists held trainings in Dallas and San Antonio.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Michael Gilbert, Ph.D., a University of Texas San Antonio criminal justice professor and former Texas corrections officer. He will join representatives of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy for media availability at 12:00 p.m. CT, and members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 1:15 p.m. CT.

“During nearly 16 years working as a corrections professional with military and state corrections, it became clear to me that marijuana prohibition is causing more harm than good," Dr. Gilbert said. "These laws have been counterproductive and fail to meet any of their policy objectives.

Texas: Marijuana Activists To Gather In Dallas Saturday For Advocacy Training Event

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

Local marijuana policy reform activists, including a former Dallas police official, will gather Saturday, Oct. 31, for an advocacy training event at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the second 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 races. Regional events are also scheduled for Corpus Christi on November 7, East Texas on December 5, and Houston on December 12. The first event was held earlier this month in San Antonio.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Joe Morris, a retired senior police corporal who enforced marijuana laws in uniform and undercover during his tenure at the Dallas Police Department. He will join representatives of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy for media availability at 9:30 a.m. CT, and members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 10:15 a.m. CT.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a public policy failure and a public safety nightmare,” said Morris, who participated in hundreds of marijuana-related undercover stings during his career, oftentimes involving buying marijuana from or selling it to high school students.

Texas: Marijuana Activists Mobilizing Statewide; 3 Out Of 4 Voters Support Reform

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy to Mobilize Activists Statewide in Effort to Inject Marijuana Policy Debate Into 2016 State Legislative Races; New Texas Lyceum Poll Finds Three Out of Four Voters Support Reform

First of several regional advocacy training events will be held Saturday in San Antonio; UTSA criminal justice professor and former corrections officer Michel Gilbert will be a guest speaker

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy will hold an advocacy training event Saturday, October 3, 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 legislative session largely because families and regular Texans shared their stories with lawmakers,” said State Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio). “The movement to change our antiquated and dangerous prohibition laws are gaining traction. However, that momentum will be lost unless citizens stay engaged with their lawmakers during the interim and campaign season.

“That's why these advocacy training events are so important because citizens will be the catalyst for change,” Sen. Menéndez said. “I'm excited the inaugural training session is taking place in San Antonio. Poll after poll shows Texans are ready for comprehensive marijuana reform.”

Texas: Provocative Marijuana TV Ad To Begin Airing As Lawmakers Consider Reducing Penalties

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A provocative television ad in support of legislation to reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession in Texas began airing Tuesday in the state’s four largest media markets.

The ad is scheduled to air on CNN, ESPN, and Fox News Channel across Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin through Thursday at midnight, the deadline by which the House must approve HB 507 in order for it to advance to the Senate.

You can watch the ad below, or online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E83Uv4VtpsE.

In the ad, Russell Jones, a Texas Hill Country resident who served 10 years as a police officer and narcotics detective in California, highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and says limited law enforcement resources should not be wasted on arresting and jailing people for using the less harmful substance.

“I know of no instance in my entire career where someone was acting out under the influence of marijuana,” Jones says. “People under the influence of alcohol are much more problematic.

"Law enforcement officials have more important things to do with their time than arrest people for marijuana possession," Jones says in the ad. "They need to be there to protect the public, to respond to crimes such as robbery, burglaries, rape, and murders.”

The ad cites annual arrest reports produced by the Texas Department of Public Safety that show more than 360,000 arrests for marijuana possession were made in Texas from 2009-2013.

Texas: Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Bill To Reduce Penalties For Marijuana Possession

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The Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would reduce state penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The hearing is scheduled to take place in the Texas State Capitol Extension E2.030 upon adjournment of the House.

HB 507, authored by committee vice-chair Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), will be one of several marijuana-related bills considered by the committee on Wednesday. It is the only proposal that would remove the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine of $100.

Under current Texas law, individuals found in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested and given a criminal record, and they face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

“When I was a prosecutor, I saw firsthand how scarce our criminal justice resources are and how disproportionately harsh drug convictions can be on nonviolent offenders, especially young people,” said Rep. Moody. “As a lawmaker, I have a responsibility to make sure we’re spending our resources wisely and treating our people fairly. That’s what HB 507 is about.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 72,150 arrests or citations issued for marijuana-related offenses in Texas in 2012, 97 percent of which were for simple possession. That same year, nearly 90 percent of all burglaries, including home invasions, and 88 percent of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved.

Texans For Responsible Marijuana Policy Hold Citizen Lobby Day On Wednesday

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy are holding a Citizen Lobby Day at the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT.

Attendees will be urging their elected officials to support HB 507, which would reduce penalties for marijuana possession, and asking them to support the establishment of a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Texas.

More than three out of five Texas voters (61 percent) support limiting the punishment for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a fine of $100 with no possibility of jail time, according to a September 2013 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. Nearly three out of five (58 percent) support changing state law to allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

“Most Texas voters support reforming our state’s current marijuana policies,” said Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Legislators need to hear from their constituents on this issue, and events like this will ensure that they do. Texans are fed up with failed prohibition policies, and they’re speaking out for a more a sensible approach.”

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy

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