The Texas Marijuana Policy Project

The Marijuana Policy Project: Changing Texas Cannabis Laws

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has set up base camp in Austin, Texas. It’s no surprise that Austin was the top choice for this amazing group’s operations in Texas. Austin is like a state within a state according to those who live there. Statewide, possession of less than 2 oz is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a max fine of $ 2,000. A law passed recently that allows doctors to prescribe CBD oil to patients with epilepsy. Though the federal government still disagrees, the new Texas law allows doctors freedom of speech in recommending, and prescribing, cannabis related products to patients. Still, prescribing is federally controlled, and it’s doubtful that many doctors will take the risk.

CBD is Coming to Texas.
That’s it for Now. Federal law still prohibits all forms of cannabis, at any level, anywhere in the state of Texas. Yet it was a federal court that allowed doctors the freedom of speech to communicate openly with their patients. Unfortunately in America, freedom is only free when the federal court says it is. You’re allowed to talk openly when it comes to cannabis, but only if the courts say so. Here is a prime example of why cannabis reform is a must and why the Marijuana Policy Project is so committed to changing this outdated, narrow-minded way of thinking.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Who They Are and What They’ve Done
When it comes to groundbreaking action, the Marijuana Policy Project is just that. They’re the group behind the legalization of cannabis in Colorado. If not for their dedicated efforts to educate the public, we might not have seen the cannabis movement take off as it has. By continuing to provide information, MPP will prove once again that the legalization movement is possible everywhere across the United States, not just in the Eastern or Western corridors.

Austin MPP and Their Five-Year Mission
Legislation allowing access to CBD oil in Texas is a monumental event. The three dispensaries that will serve Texas by 2017 will only benefit those with intractable epilepsy at first. The MPP timeline for their efforts in Texas are: 2015 to push for medical legalization, 2017 to push for recreational cannabis for folks 21 and up, and 2019 for complete legalization in Texas. They’re so sure of this that they’ve hired the first ever paid director and are prepared to put up 500K of their money to see this process all the way through to completion.

When it all Started
The Marijuana Policy Project was founded in 1995. Medical cannabis was illegal in every state in the US. With the declaration of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine that cannabis does, in fact, have medical value, a new movement for legalization was born. Now cannabis laws have changed, allowing for medicinal cannabis in 23 states as well as the District of Columbia. Decriminalization has also spread across the United States, reducing charges from criminal to civil fines.

It Started With One. Now It’s Begun.
Four states have taken the leap to full on legalization, recreational and medicinal. All of these changes are due in part to MPP. In 2012, an epic, groundbreaking event occurred with the legalization of cannabis in Colorado. This was a ballot initiative backed by the MPP. Amendment 64 allowed Colorado to be the first place in the world with full legalization for the distribution, use, production, personal cultivation and possession of cannabis.

Following in the Path of Greatness
Since this monumental event, three other states have joined Colorado in passing similar laws that allow for recreational and medicinal consumption of cannabis and others continue to lighten penalties. In June 2015 MPP completed a two year lobbying campaign in the state of Delaware to reduce the penalty for possession of an ounce of cannabis from a criminal fine to a civil one for ages 21 and up. This plus the legalization of CBD oil and the acceptance of cannabis dispensaries by 2017 in Texas are monumental steps, due largely to the responsible, informed, and educational methods of MPP. To get involved, or to help support the cause, visit MPP.org or call 202-462-5747, extension 2020. You can also write to them on Capitol Hill at P.O. Box 77492, Washington, D.C. 20013 or e-mail them at info@mpp.org. Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 4.59.20 PM

Emerald contributor since September 2015

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