Texas isn’t likely to be the next Colorado or California. The state almost certainly won’t be the next one to legalize recreational marijuana use. But there are signs that both the public opinion and political calculus on pot are shifting in Texas, with advocates hopeful that those shifts could yield significant progress during next year’s legislative session.
For over a decade, Texas lawmakers have filed bills aimed at weakening Texas’ rigid marijuana laws. Those always went nowhere until 2015, when Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Compassionate Use Act, which legalized the sale of a specific kind of cannabis oil for Texans with intractable epilepsy. Three dispensaries have since opened in Texas to produce and sell the oil.
Though no further pro-marijuana bills passed during the next session in 2017, last month’s state Republican and Democratic conventions gave advocates a new reason for optimism.
At the GOP convention in San Antonio, attendees approved for the first time a plank in the party’s platform supporting “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.” Even Democrats — who’ve advocated for marijuana decriminalization in their platform since 2012 — tweaked their platform at this year’s convention in Fort Worth to call for full legalization.
The new language for both parties not only signals a change in public perception, but is prompting advocates to wonder whether marijuana will become more of a hot-button issue ahead of the 2018 general election…..Read More