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With polls showing that most Texans support at least some form of legalization, Siegel believes working locally offers the greatest opportunity for progress on the marijuana front. About 51 percent of Texans said they support or strongly support recreational drug legalization, according to a recent Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll. And 67% of respondents said they would support legalization for medical purposes. Miller said recreational legalization in Texas is still unlikely, but national action could take place. Ultimately, proponents hope to convince Texas lawmakers to legalize marijuana nationwide. But Texas prosecutors, police departments, and local governments have already reduced law enforcement: According to a review conducted by the Texas Bureau of Court Administration for Stateline, marijuana offense convictions rose from 25,671 in fiscal year 2018 to 7,531 in fiscal year 2022. By Keith Nelson Published in the Spring 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine Several studies, reports and courts have found that voter fraud is relatively rare, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan institute of law and policy. Cases of alleged fraud have also turned out to be mistakes made by election officials or voters in some cases, according to the center. The Texas Secretary of State`s Office has launched a review of the 2020 election results in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin counties. The audit is still ongoing, but an initial report revealed few discrepancies between manual and electronic counts. The Texas Attorney General`s Office also opened 390 cases of potential voter fraud from January 2020 to September 2022, but only obtained five election-related convictions during that period. Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, is a strong supporter of criminal justice reform, saying lawmakers will address issues surrounding marijuana legalization.

Last week, President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of people convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law, a move seen as a step toward legalization. After decades of oblivion, Reefer Madness was rediscovered in the early 1970s. It became a hit in the midnight movie circuit, where viewers laughed at the outrageous characterization of marijuana users. Attitudes toward marijuana began to change when federal officials considered decriminalizing marijuana. Proponents of marijuana legalization used the film to highlight misconceptions about harvesting. And no one, except the uninformed, called him “reefers” anymore. A Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll released in May showed that 60 percent supported legalizing marijuana for recreational use and more than 80 percent for medical purposes. KERA News is made possible thanks to the generosity of our members. If you find this return helpful, consider a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you very much. Prosecutors and Crime Lab scientists struggled to find a solution after a change in the state`s definition of marijuana put criminal cases at risk. Comprehensive polls show strong support for marijuana legislation.

“We classify marijuana on the same level as heroin – and more serious than fentanyl. It doesn`t make sense,” Biden said. The Texas legislature boosted medical use last year when it expanded the state`s medical marijuana program to all forms of post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer. Marijuana and hemp are often indistinguishable by their appearance or smell, as they both come from the cannabis plant. But hemp is legal and marijuana is not. But now, attitudes toward marijuana are changing again across the country. Thirty-seven states and Washington have legalized medical marijuana. And 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana by adults. But some of Killeen`s opponents fear complicating the city`s relationship with Fort Hood because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Former Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra, who still sits on the city council, fears that decriminalizing marijuana in future Pentagon decisions on how many troops and personnel to allocate to Fort Hood “is likely to be seen as a negative tick,” with an estimated $28.9 billion economic impact nationwide. Segarra also says adopting the initiative could lead to an increase in crime in Killeen. O`Rourke, who previously wrote a book on marijuana decriminalization while serving on the El Paso City Council, says tax revenue from its legal use could be used to fund public education and reduce property taxes.

It was El Paso, in 1915, that became the first American city to ban the use of marijuana. The state currently treats substances differently, depending on their THC content. For example, it legalized hemp, which contains less THC than marijuana, in 2019. In 2021, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill to reduce penalties for minor marijuana possession, but died in the Senate. Lt. Gen. Dan Patrick has been cautious about expanding the compassionate use program, but the bill`s sponsor in the Senate said Patrick helped create the version that cleared a major hurdle Friday. The new law changed the definition of marijuana, and prosecutors and crime labs say they don`t have the resources to test whether a substance is legal hemp or marijuana. The entire CBD industry in Texas wouldn`t have survived COVID, the shutdowns, and all the madness of 2020 without the hemp-derived cannabinoids of Delta-8 and Delta-9,” said Lukas Gilkey, founder and CEO of Hometown Hero CBD.

“This would have meant the loss of thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of jobs. Hemp-derived Delta-8 and hemp-derived Delta-9 saved this industry. Going forward, Ground Game Texas will continue to work with local groups to place progressive measures on local ballots. They aim to present the measure, along with several other proposals, including decriminalizing abortion, to San Antonio voters in May 2023. And similar efforts are likely to appear in other major cities like Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston during the 2024 election, Siegel added. At the end of Election Day, five Texas cities voted to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession. In Ohio, which has legalized medical marijuana, seven municipalities will vote to eliminate penalties for cannabis possession. A poll released in early October by Spectrum News in collaboration with the Siena College Research Institute showed that 60 percent of likely Ohio voters favored legalizing adult cannabis use, while 37 percent opposed it. The decision to withdraw from criminal charges against people possessing small amounts of cannabis comes after state lawmakers legalized hemp last year in a way that threw the persecution of marijuana into chaos. Many prosecutors say the way Gov. Greg Abbott and lawmakers have redefined marijuana requires new lab tests to prove it`s different from recently legalized hemp. The situation has created a mosaic of consequences for people caught with the grass.

The whole story. Nearly 100 miles south, across from Austin, campaign supporters in San Marcos spent months holding rallies and knocking on doors in what organizer Sam Benavides calls “the biggest election initiative this city has ever seen.” Benavides, 23, director of communications for Mano Amiga, a nonprofit that focuses on the criminal justice system, says a significant portion of the support comes from Texas State University`s community of 38,000 students. There may also be measures to reduce criminal penalties for violations of marijuana laws. Szimanski disputed the description that the proposed limits for minor offenses represent a small amount, pointing out that four ounces of marijuana would fill a four-gallon freezer bag. “Law enforcement cannot tolerate the substance being legal, especially in these quantities,” she said. Killeen, which sits next to the sprawling U.S. Army Fort Hood base, is one of five Texas cities where voters are asked to prevent local police from making arrests or issuing citations for marijuana possession. “I think the governor will increase licensing capacity in the state,” said lobbyist and political consultant Bill Miller. “Availability will be a bit more extensive for more licenses. It`s moving, but it`s not going to move overnight. The Texas initiatives in Denton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen and San Marcos are the result of months of petition campaigns and coalition-building by Ground Game Texas, which former Democratic congressional candidates Mike Siegel and Julie Oliver founded in the spring of 2021 to empower progressive Democrats.

Republicans have dominated state politics in Texas for more than two decades. To read the full article, visit our partners at the Dallas Morning News.

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