There are signs both public and political opinion on marijuana are shifting in Texas, giving advocates hope heading into next year’s legislative session.
While no new marijuana bills passed the Legislature in 2017, there were indications 2019 may be different.
“What we saw with medical cannabis was half of the House signed onto the medical cannabis bill with about a 60-40 split Democrat-Republican, so this issue is not about politics, it's not about partisanship, it's about people,” says Heather Fazio, spokesperson for the Marijuana Leadership Campaign.
Both the Republican Party of Texas and state Democrats recently adopted pro-marijuana platforms.
“A conservative organization like the Republican Party of Texas officially endorsed removing criminal penalties for low-level possession and allowing patients safe and legal access to medical cannabis,” says Fazio.
Recent polling showed more than half of Texas voters would legalize pot in one form or another.
“Whether it's a loved one who needs access to medical cannabis or they have experience in law enforcement for example, they know enforcing these outdated laws is a waste of resources,” she says.