This month News 4 San Antonio held their Town Hall on Marijuana Legalization. They had unprecedented attendance, filling 2 overflow rooms. There were many good questions asked of the panel.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was booed as he joined Jimmy Kimmel on stage for an early taping of the host’s late-night talk show on Tuesday at the South by Southwest conference in Austin. Perry said, “You don’t want to ruin a kid’s life for having a joint.” For which he was applauded.
In Houston, a Republican group held its inaugural meeting as it tries to convince GOP leaders that the legalization of marijuana is a conservative stance, not just a left-wing liberal idea. “You have the right to control yourself. And to me that’s what Republicans stand for,” said Ann Lee, founder of RAMP – Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. “The drug war goes against every principle we have of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and less intrusion in your private life.” North Houston NORML reached out to their community and built relationships while cleaning up a local park. Houston PBS also held an in depth panel on legalization in Texas.
The Obama administration handed backers of medical marijuana a significant victory Friday, opening the way for a University of Arizona researcher to examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, a move that could lead to broader studies into potential benefits of the drug. Our local interviewed Texas NORML’s Director of Veteran’s Outreach, Dave Bass about Veteran’s in Texas. “We believe that the studies are going to show that cannabis is effective to treat PTSD and we believe that that will then cut off any debate or should cut off any debate about whether veterans should have access to this medicine,” Bass said.
We also learned quite a bit about Texas and its Forfeiture Dependence. The top 10 forfeiture-earning agencies in Texas, on average, take in about 37 percent of their budgets in forfeiture funds. The smaller agencies (those serving less than 1 million people) among Texas’s top 10 forfeiture earners reported forfeiture proceeds in excess of 65 percent of annual budgets.
According to the FBI, in 2012, 82.2% of all drug arrests in the U.S. were for possession only; of those, 42.4% were arrested for marijuana possession. In Texas the numbers are even starker: In 2012, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 57% of the 116,634 adult arrests for drug possession, and a whopping 81% of the 8,132 juvenile arrests for drug possession, were for possession of pot. Consider a low-level offender popped for pot and sentenced to a year in county jail – in Austin that costs taxpayers an average of $38,548 per inmate per year. Read more of the Austin Chronicle’s comprehensive article here.
Remember we need support from the entire state to change these laws in Texas, so it is important that we grow our grassroots and help involve more people in other areas of Texas. Talk to your friends in rural areas where there is no NORML chapter. To further that agenda, we are working to connect people in areas around the state so they can be empowered to start their own chapters and create change locally, learn more here. Please visit our events page for the most current list of cities trying to start a NORML Chapter and share the event invitations with your contacts in those areas, help it GROW! There was even coverage of the burgeoning Beaumont
NationalRep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called for Congress to overhaul U.S. drug policy, but doubted lawmakers yet had the courage to end the federal government’s “hypocrisy and irrationality.” “For three-quarters of a century, the United States has waged a futile attempt to prohibit marijuana based upon emotion and flawed science,” he said on the House floor. “Since 1971, the Federal Government has classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 prohibited substance, like heroin, more dangerous, according to the law, than cocaine or meth. It declared in statute, contrary to proven research, that marijuana has no therapeutic value. “Every day a million authorized users of medical marijuana reject that notion by using it by doctor’s prescription to relieve symptoms like intense nausea due to chemotherapy, relief for veterans with PTSD, from chronic back pain, and neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis.” Watch the video here.
Dr Sanjay Gupta presented his follow up research documentary on cannabis called “Weed 2” and announced that he will be “doubling down” on medical marijuana. Watch the documentary here.
The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that residents there convicted of marijuana possession before recreational weed was legalized may be eligible to have those decisions overturned. This is important precedent!
Senior Alliance Meetup – Saturday, April 12th – 2pm – Opal Divine’s Penn Field, 3601 South Congress, Austin. At this month’s meeting, we’ll be showing the film by Robert Platshorn (TheThe Silver Tour (Teaching Seniors the Benefits of Medical Marijuana)) “Should Grandma Smoke Pot?” followed by a (closed) round table discussion of the movie and how we, as Central Texas Seniors, can prepare for next year’s legislative session. RSVP here.
Traveling Monthly Strategy Meeting – Wednesday, April 16th – 6:30pm – FREE! – Waterloo Icehouse, 6203 North Capital of Texas HWY, Austin. Are you interested in meeting with Texas NORML representatives and other supporters to have a group discussion and make plans for how we can and WILL change laws in Texas? Please meet us there and find out how you can help! We are changing locations every month!RSVP here!
Austin Reggae Fest – April 18th-20th – Butler Park, 1000 Barton Creek Rd., Austin. It is that time of year! We are so excited to be invited back to participate in the Austin Reggae Festival. It is an event we look forward to every year. And this year Sunday will be 4/20! So come to the Reggae Festival and stop by the Texas NORML table! Click here to purchase tickets in advance. Are you interested in volunteering for the event? Please email Volunteer@TexasNORML.org. Only serious inquiries.
Annual Texas Marijuana March – Saturday, May 3rd – 4:30pm – The time for the annual Worldwide Marijuana March is approaching! Come participate with Texas NORML in Austin Texas as we march to the Texas Capitol Building in solidarity with our compatriots worldwide. Help us bring attention to the failed Drug War and the failed drug policy of prohibition. We will meet at City Hall and march down Congress and up to the Capitol’s South Steps where we will hold a rally. Learn more details about the event and the after party here.
Open Monthly Meeting – Wednesday, May 7th – 8pm – FREE! – Flamingo Cantina, 515 East 6th Street, Austin. We meet at the Flamingo on the first Wednesday of every month. We will be discussing what has been going on in cannabis news around the nation, enjoying some stand up comedy and live reggae from the Mau Mau Chaplains.Kinky Friedman will be our Guest Speaker. Click here for more information on the meeting. Please make sure to invite and share the event with your friends and family.
Open Monthly Meeting – Wednesday, June 4th – 8pm – FREE! – Flamingo Cantina, 515 East 6th Street, Austin. We meet at the Flamingo on the first Wednesday of every month. We will be discussing what has been going on in cannabis news around the nation, enjoying some stand up comedy and live reggae from the Mau Mau Chaplains.Heather Fazio, Texas Political Director from MPP, will be our Guest Speaker. Click here for more information on the meeting. Please make sure to invite and share the event with your friends and family.
Save the Date! – Texas Veteran Annual Summit – July 18-19 – Library, 1161 Angelina St, Austin. Mixer Meetup on Friday evening. Summit on Saturday. Stay tuned for more information.
Thank you for your continued support!
Your Texas NORML Team