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Texas NORML

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director April 12, 2019

    Many Texans spent a long day at the Capitol to offer thoughtful and powerful testimony on the seven bill addressing medical cannabis, including our priority legislation HB 1365 authored by Rep Eddie Lucio III. The Subcommittee heard from pain specialists, Rice’s Baker Institute, Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, and more – all in support of medical freedom for Texas patients. Patients and caregivers passionately shared their personal experiences.

    Ask your Representative to coauthor HB 1365 today!

    Texas NORML Executive Director, Jax Finkel, submitted the testimony of over a hundred of our fellow Texans to the members of the Subcommittee. It was our honor to bring the voices of those that could not attend into the hearing room.

    Make a donation to support our work at the legislature!

    Right now, we have strong bipartisan support for reform in the Texas Legislature and a record setting number of bills have been introduced for consideration. There’s a very small window to make this happen before the session ends in May. It will take all of us doing this important work to get across the finish line!

    Now that the Medical Marijuana Subcommittee has heard HB 1365, what happens next?In the Texas Legislature, committees tend to leave bills pending after the hearing. They will typically vote on bills in batches. This means that it can take about 2 weeks for a bill to be voted on, though this can vary. This means that we can expect a vote on HB 1365 in the near future. Once the committee votes, they will issue a report on the bill that will be distributed to every member in the chamber. When HB 1365 progresses, it will be sent to Committee on Calendars to be place on the floor calendar. Learn more about the process.

    What can you do to help today?

    Representative Eddie Lucio III has expressed the need for Texans to reach out the their Representatives and ask them to support HB 1365. Ask your Representative to coauthor HB 1365 today! This will help continue to solidify the strong bipartisan support as the bill progresses.

    Next Steps…

    Please consider making a donation to our legislative crowd funding campaign.

    View pictures from the hearing.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact SheetsFor more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

     

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director March 4, 2019

    In the Texas State Capitol Building, dozens of patients joined us to ask their legislators to coauthor legislation that makes the Texas Compassionate Use Program more inclusive and effective. HB 1365 (authored by Rep Lucio, III) and SB90 (authored by Sen Menendez) would allow patients with debilitating conditions access to medical cannabis to therapeutically treat the symptoms of their condition.

    Ask your legislators to coauthor HB 1365 and SB 90 now!

    Patients met up to learn from our briefing about how the legislative process works, a review of our priority legislation, and an overview of messaging and crafting testimony. Patients then broke out into groups by district and went to visit their legislative offices. Many patients also stayed to register their support of HB 63, which would reduce possession of one ounce to a small, civil fine.

    Make a donation to support our work at the legislature!

    We will be posting live updates from the HB 63: Civil Penalty hearing today. Stay tuned to watch the hearing. We will also keep you posted on the progress of these medical bills.

    View pictures from the event!

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets!For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

     

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director February 8, 2019

    On Thursday, hundreds of Texans joined us at the Texas State Capitol to discuss marijuana policy with legislators! For this historic day, over 400 Texans registered to participate, covering all thirty-one senate districts and three-quarters of the house district. It was a beautiful representation of how important reform is for Texans.

    We provided a training session for our participants that covered an overview of the legislative process, review of priority legislation, what to expect from their visits and Q&A. We provided training packets for them to use in preparation for their visits, including voting records to check where their legislators have historically stood on the issue. Participants then crafted a message to place on their postcards which they delivered to offices along with policy overviews and then requested their Senator and Representative co-sponsor important legislation. Pictures of the event can be found here. Livestream of the event can be found here.

    The changes that I have seen over the last 14 years in Texas are stark. The first lobby day I ever participated in only had a few dozen dedicated Texans holding the torch for freedom. At that time, legislators had a harsh opinion of our work. But today, we have a record number of bills and have created a huge change in public opinion in the Capitol. The import of these drastic changes over the years are not lost and I am so thankful for all of the work that Texans have done to destigmatize marijuana.

    We want to thank our coalition, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, for helping to continue to elevate and expand these lobby days. We are so appreciative of all of our volunteers who made this event possible. Additionally, RAMP and DFW NORML made it possible for more Texans to participate by arranging buses to bring them to Austin.

    Lastly, we still have a lot of work to do this session. Brush up on our advocacy training. Catch up on the bills and participate in our action alerts! Stay tuned to us via social media and our newsletter to track how the bills are progressing and know when new action alerts are put out.

    Please support our work during this session by becoming a member, making a one-time donation or becoming a sustaining donor.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets! For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

     

  • by NORML November 13, 2018

    Prohibitionist Pete Sessions has been ousted from office by Collin Allred and a huge number of volunteers, voters and cannabis activists! Cannabis was a huge part of this race’s conversation. We are hopeful that this huge shake up will help marijuana bills move more expeditiously at the Federal level as Sessions has been a huge roadblock for change.

    Support our mission in Texas!

    “Texans has re-affirmed that they are no longer satisfied with the status quo for marijuana laws in Texas. Many advocates in North Texas and across Texas worked hard to remove Sessions, who has been an major impediment at the Federal level,” said Jax Finkle, Executive Director of Texas NORML. “Session’s stance was not based in science, constituent opinion, common sense policy making nor the Texas GOP platform. We are hopeful for the upcoming Legislative Session here in Texas and hope that we will see more movement at the Federal level as well.”

    We also had some important changes in Texas. At the state level, we have 12 incumbents that have been replaced with Freshman in the House, 2 in the Senate and 2 at the Federal level. These are important changes before our legislative session that kicks off in January 2019.

    Become a sustaining donor and support our work during the session!

    The 86th Texas Legislature will convene on January 8th, 2019, but the pre-filing period began yesterday. Lawmakers have begun introducing legislation for consideration during the upcoming legislative session. (Learn more about preparing for the session here.)

    Several marijuana related bills have been introduced:

    HB 63 (Rep. Joe Moody) — Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense. Participate in our action alert!

    SB 156 (Sen. Jose Roriguez) – Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

    SB 90 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

    HB 186 (Rep. Terry Canales) — Relating to the determination of the weight of marihuana and other tetrahydrocannabinolsfor the purpose of the prosecution and punishment of the offense of possession of those substances.

    HB 122 (Rep. Gina Hinojosa) — Relating to the medical use of marihuana; providing an affirmative defense to prosecutionfor possession of marihuana.

    SB 116 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating to industrial hemp; requiring an occupational license; authorizing fees.

    HJR 21 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

    HB 209 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

    Become a sustaining donor and support our work during the session!

    For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in the Lone Star State, follow Texas NORML on Facebook  and Twitter and become a member today!

  • by NORML May 11, 2017

    Fellow Texans,

    It is with a heavy heart that I write you. I must inform you that the deadline for a bill to be put on the House Agenda for the floor expired last night at 10pm. While HB 81 did make it on to the agenda before the deadline, HB 2107 did not.

    This was due to the paperwork not being completed for it’s enrollment in calendars with enough time, completed less than 3 hours before the deadline to be placed on the agenda. With no special Calendars meeting called to hear it’s addition, HB 2107 was not able to progress and is no longer a viable option in it’s form. However, it’s two main authors, Rep Lucio III and Rep Isaac, have promised to continue to look for avenues to codify protections for patients as this legislative session continues. You can also read this touching letter from them.Texas NORML will diligently support any attempts made to enact protections for patients in the upcoming weeks.

    Our thoughts are with the many patients, caregivers and practitioners in the state that are effected by this disappointment. Times like these are very difficult and we are all still working to process this.

    With that in mind, I would like to share some silver linings that have come from the historic actions taken to enact HB 2107 that I hope help soften the blow.

    Texas has never previously held a committee vote on a whole plant medical cannabis bill. We were able to hold our most powerful and effective hearing yet which ended in a 7-2 vote that we know have on the record for the first time. It is also remarkable to note that the Chair put the bill up for a vote out of turn and knowing he would vote against it. This is not a regular occurrence.

    A historic 70+ legislators signed up as coauthors on the bill in the 36 hour periodafter the hearing. 28 of those were Republicans. 4 of the 5 Doctors in the Houseare also included in the coauthor list. We have gone from a handful of legislative supporters to unprecedented numbers! Numbers that would have given HB 2107 the votes to pass. So we must diligently work to keep each one of these allies.

    With that many legislators vested, safe access to medical cannabis becomes a significant campaign talking point. It will be important the we check back in on the basics when the interim begins and prepare for the most important campaign season of medical cannabis’ history. We will of course have a new Texas NORML Marijuana Policy Voter Guide and Voting Appendix.

    It is important that we keep our lobbying efforts alive and sustain the work we are doing at the Capitol and across the state. There will be major opportunities in front of us that we must be ready to capitalize on.

    We learned a lot. We are carbon pressed to diamonds. We must continue to slice away at prohibition!

    Please take a moment to CALL or EMAIL your support for HB 81, so that we can work to remove the criminal penalty for possession of one ounce or less! It is imperative that we accomplish this by midnight on Thursday, the day the bill is scheduled.

    Jax Finkel

    Executive Director
    Texas NORML
    The problem is the law, not the plant.
    Re-legalize!
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