We are sad to inform you that – HB3785 / HB837 have both expired in the Public Health Committee and HB507 / HB2165 were not scheduled to be heard on the House Floor and will expire in Calendar Committee.
But serious reform efforts are not dead — and we must not give up. Until the last day of session, we still have the possibility of amending other bills to include civil penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. We are also working on amendments to improve the CBD bills, and to get a vote on protecting patients with a wide array of illnesses with a workable bill. And there is a Research Hemp bill (HB557) still in play. Also, please read this write up about the Veteran Medical Marijuana Amendment put forth by Representative Davis Simpson.
Please, keep working to educate your lawmakers and let them know that voters don’t want another ~140,000 Texans to be arrested between now and our next legislative session, or to waste those valuable criminal justice resources and saddle individuals with life-altering criminal records! And for so many patients, not having access to their medicine means decreased quality of life/health! WE WILL NOT GIVE UP and we need you to STAY ENGAGED also. Continue to contact your Legislators!
Because of the great work of advocates across the state, for the first time in decades, marijuana law reform is at the forefront of political discussion. This is the greatest indicator of our success this year. Now is a good time to reflect on what we have to be grateful for…
•Rep. Joe Moody earned support from 40 representatives who signed onto HB 507 as co-authors, including Rep. Wu and Rep. Dutton who had introduced competing bills. The bill was supported by Republicans and Democrats alike because he worked this bill tirelessly to ensured that it was framed as good government policy — which it is!
•Rep. Marisa Marquez introduced Texas’ very first proposal for a comprehensive medical marijuana program to bring patients safe and legal access. Advocates, patients, veterans, and caregivers did a tremendous job of demonstrating that medical marijuana is not about getting high…it’s about the freedom to choose natural medicine.
•Rep. Simpson introduced the very first bill in Texas to REPEAL MARIJUANA PROHIBITION out right, and it make it out of committee!
•We built an outstanding coalition of advocacy groups, generated and earned positive media, and ensured that Texans know reform is coming. All of this was possible because of everyone’s hard work and THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE LINE.
We have created an event page with ways to show our gratitude. Now is the time to cement our relationship with our allies.
In Texas, we operate on a two year cycle. After the end of May, we move on to the election cycle where we have an opportunity to rally support from our base, engage candidates at campaign events, elect allies to serve our districts, and continue to make this important issue an topic of conversation during the election process. MAKE SURE YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE IN 2016!
Our team has grown strong, and we will continue to do so as we press for humane marijuana laws both this year and in 2017. Let’s stay positive and remember that in spite of set backs, our work has made a huge difference and have set ourselves up for future success!
Civil Penalties (HB 507) – We had a great committee hearing and favorable vote of 4-2. Calendars chairman, Rep. Todd Hunter did not bring the bill up for consideration by the Calendars Committee as he agreed to do. This bill is done for the session, but we are working to find another bill to serve as a vehicle for amendment.
Civil Penalties (SB 1417) – Did not receive a hearing.
Repeal Prohibition (HB 2165) – Received a great hearing in committee and passed out with a 5-2 vote making national news and history! Was not placed on calendar and is done for this session.
Medical Marijuana (HB 3785) – Received a fantastic hearing, but was not passed out of committee (Chairwoman Crownover refused to call a vote). Done for this session.
Medical Marijuana (SB 1839) – Did not receive a hearing.
Affirmative Defense (HB 837) – Great committee hearing, but did not get a vote because of Chairwoman Crownover. Done for this session.
Low-THC Medical Marijuana (HB 892) – Passed out of committee, scheduled for a vote today. Rep. Moody is planning to offer amendments. He’ll propose a change replacing “prescribe” to “recommend” which will at least make the program workable. He’ll also propose that we raise the THC level to 5% (which is still very low) and add qualifying conditions. We are also hoping to get an amendment to remove the THC cap altogether.
Low-THC Medical Marijuana (SB 339) – Passed out of committee, passed the Senate with a vote of 26-5, passed out of committee today and may to be swapped out for HB 892 on the floor. If this happens no amendments can be made and the bill makes its way to Governor Abbott. While this is a very restrictive bill that few of us support, it is a historic moment that reflects the great work done by advocates. Texas is acknowledging that CANNABIS IS MEDICINE!
Hemp Research (HB 557) – Scheduled for a vote TODAY!
We’re making incredible progress, national headlines, and exceeding expectations. This is an endurance race and we appreciate your stamina. Now is not the time to rest, there is still more work ahead. We cannot let up during the down season, we have to continue visiting and educating our elected officials, we have to get out and VOTE in 2016 for cannabis friendly candidates. Texas NORML will have a Voter’s Guide available for you.