The Texas Republican Party has adopted a platform that opposes the legalization of marijuana, although polls show that voters in the state are increasingly supportive of policy change.
The legalization position was one of several cannabis and drug policy measures taken by delegates at the party’s biennial state convention over the weekend.
Members also advanced tables opposing harm reduction policies such as syringe exchange programs, encouraging “faith-based rehabilitation” for substance abuse, demanding drug testing for recipients of harm. welfare and designating drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
However, two modest reforms that support the platform are the federal reprogramming of Annex I to II marijuana and the reduction of hemp regulations.
But the anti-legalization board is probably the most prominent of the recently adopted measures, and advocates are frustrated by the decision to support a position that goes against bipartisan public opinion on the issue.
Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for governor with a long history of supporting drug policy reform in Lone Star State and in Congress, criticized the GOP organization for adopting restrictive social policies. , including the criminalization of cannabis.
The Texas GOP has just voted to approve Abbott’s extreme agenda by:
🔴Define public schools
🔴Remove health care
🔴 Repeal gun laws
🔴Denate voting rights
🔴Rejects the legalization of marijuana
We will not allow Greg Abbott’s Texas to be our future.
– Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 20, 2022
Delegate votes on the issues have yet to be formally certified by the party, but the ongoing cannabis ban is expected to be, at least for now, the official position of the Texas GOP. Meanwhile, separate party measures taken at the convention on LGBTQ rights, access to abortion, and questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election have become a source of national controversy.
“Just because you don’t like cannabis, or you don’t want your children or your husband or anyone using cannabis, doesn’t mean the ban is the right answer,” said John Baucum, political director of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. (RAMP) told Marijuana Moment on Monday.
He added that he believes Republican voters in Texas would not necessarily support the government’s idea of ”closing people to cannabis” while other substances, possibly more harmful, are legal.
Keeping marijuana illegal. This is Abbott’s vision for Texas. pic.twitter.com/tdXciLAUAU
– Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 21, 2022
But the state Republican Party continued with the board, he said, because “there is such an emotional argument tied to [reform]. There is such a misperception. “
The party’s organization made waves earlier, in 2018, by adopting a board in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, but that didn’t last long. In 2020, the organization chose not to reaffirm its position in favor of decriminalization, although more bipartisan lawmakers in the state decided to stop putting people in jail for low-level cannabis crimes.
Here are the plans for the cannabis and drug policy platform adopted by the Texas Republican Party this year:
Marijuana is still illegal: opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana and offering drug treatment opportunities before sanctions for illegal possession, use, or distribution.
Cannabis Classification: Congress should remove cannabis from the Schedule 1 list and move to Schedule 2.
Reduce business regulations: We believe that the following companies should be minimally regulated at all levels … Use of hemp as an agricultural product.
Addiction: We oppose the legalization and decriminalization of illegal, natural and / or synthetic illegal drugs, and we support the pursuit of a zero-tolerance policy with maximum penalty for manufacturers and distributors of illegal drugs. legal. We also oppose any needle exchange program. Faith-based rehabilitation programs should be considered as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program.
We encourage social assistance reform in the following areas: … Demand that all recipients of social assistance undergo random drug testing to receive benefits.
Designate Drug Cartels as Terrorist Organizations: We Strongly Support HR1700 — Drug Cartel Terrorist Designation Act — 116th Congress (2019-2020), introduced by Representative Chip Roy, which would designate Criminals for Crime identified as drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. (FTO) with the intention of improving the drug policy related to drug cartels. In addition, we call on the state of Texas to establish an anti-terrorism division that can enforce anti-terrorism laws to deter drug trafficking, human trafficking, and any other illegal activity across our southern border.
Meanwhile, even Governor Greg Abbott (R) seemed to accept the simple decriminalization in January, saying that “prison and jail are a place for dangerous criminals who can harm others, and small marijuana possession is not the kind of rape we want to store.
But he misrepresented the existing policy, suggesting that the legislature had already turned mere possession of marijuana into a Class C misdemeanor without the threat of imprisonment. In fact, the law still considered possession of up to two ounces as a Class B misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to 180 days in prison and a maximum fine of $ 2,000.
A recent poll found that a large majority of Texans, including most Republicans, support an even broader reform to legalize marijuana for adult use. An independent poll released this month found that legalizing cannabis is more popular in Texas than senior state and President-elect Joe Biden.
The Texas House passed a cannabis decriminalization bill in 2019, but did not advance that session to the Senate despite the state party adopting the previous reform plan.
Locally, marijuana reform has progressed rapidly as Texas activists have worked to enact reforms in cities across the state. Organizers say they expect cannabis decriminalization to be at the local polls this November in five cities: Denton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen and San Marcos.
Last month, Austin voters overwhelmingly approved the change in marijuana policy.
Across the state, drug policy reform made some progress in the legislature during last year’s session, but not necessarily at the pace that advocates expected to see.
One bill was enacted to expand the state’s medical cannabis program and another to require a study on the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics for military veterans.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
Separately, the state Supreme Court heard testimony in March in a case of a state ban on the manufacture of smokable hemp products, the latest development in a long legal battle over the policy proposed and challenged by first time in 2020.
Legalization of medical marijuana linked to reduction of drunk driving and safer roads, suggests a study on car insurance data
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.