Multiple bills pushing for legal marijuana are sitting before our state legislature in Austin.
And marijuana reform activists are rallying their supporter to help alter the law.
Two groups from Waco are asking for supporters of marijuana reform to demand their legislators to vote “Yes” for legal marijuana. But, like every successful movement, it must be organized.
So, supporters are working to train individuals on the way to work together and bring change to Texas.
“This kind of education is necessary so that when folks do meet their representatives, they have answers to the questions their representatives typically have,” Clif Deuval, founder of NORML of Waco, said.
Legal marijuana really has been a popular issue in Texas for years. In 2015, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 339, permitting physicians in the state to prescribe marijuana-based products with low levels of THC to patients.
But before the 85th Texas Legislature even sat down on Tuesday, supporters were demanding lawmakers take it a step further and legalize marijuana, or at the minimum, medical marijuana.
“People are suffering all around the country, all around the world, without cannabis,” Karen Reeves, founder of CenTex Community Outreach, said.
In November, two joint resolutions were filed in the state senate that will leave the judgment up to voters at home. They will have the ability to decide whether or not to allow medical and recreational cannabis in the Lone Star State.
Deuval and Reeves drove to the state capitol Saturday to attend an advocacy training session sponsored by two statewide pro-marijuana groups.
They expect the training will help unite people for change.
“We are educating the activists to where they could go in and give their representatives the info they desire,” Deuval said.
Reeves added: “How to compose your own account, the best way to talk to legislators, the best way to feel confident and tell your story.”
But, despite rapidly growing support, 50 percent of Texans say they’d still oppose legalizing marijuana according to a 2015 Lyceum survey.
Before he was sworn in, State Representative Hugh Shine said he is worried that legalizing the drug could open a Pandora’s box.
“I look around at other states, and yes, they have passed legislation for medical marijuana but it is simply opened the door for recreational use,” Shine said.
Deuval said that recreational use in Texas, if passed, would be regulated and compared it with alcohol. But he hopes after meeting in Austin with fellow Texans, before he session ends on May, he and Karen can encourage the legislature to pass a bill.