Texas, one of the most conservative states in the country, has never been considered a haven for progressive policies. Though it is home to some well known liberal cities like Austin, most of Texas has been red for years. So it may come as a shock to many to learn that delegates of the Texas Republican Party voted on Saturday June 16th, 2018 to approve a policy platform that endorses cannabis decriminalization, medical cannabis, and the legalization of industrial hemp. The party’s delegates are also calling for the rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule 1.
Houston, We No Longer Have A Problem
Every year, the two major parties in each state and across the country convene to vote on and finalize the policies that they will support. The GOP in Texas recently had their platform meetings and decided there that it is high time for them to change their official stance on cannabis. One of the new party positions states, “We support a change in the law to make it a civil, and not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time.” The platform also states, “Congress should remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 [narcotics],” and that “industrial hemp is a valuable agricultural commodity.”
Reflection of A Larger Shift
Cannabis politics have been ever evolving over the last decade. Currently, there are 30 U.S. states who have legalized cannabis for medicinal use in some capacity and 9 states who have legalized the use of recreational cannabis for adults. Though cannabis legalization has been sweeping the United States, it has been spearheaded for the most part by Democrats. As the public continues to lean in favor of legalization, many Republicans feel they must change their notorious anti-cannabis stance in order to continue to win votes.
Recently, President Donald Trump offered his support for a bipartisan cannabis bill that would grant states with cannabis laws protection from federal infringement. The bill would be welcomed as a saving grace for legal cannabis states as there are still many Republicans, like the Trump appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions who vehemently disagree with cannabis legalization.
Along with the sitting Republican President, the Texas GOP endorses cannabis decriminalization. It will be rather interesting to watch whether or not Republicans like Trump will put their words into action and act on the antiquated existing cannabis policies. If they do fully embrace pro-cannabis policies, Republicans will only push further the efforts of legalization that so many have fought for.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.