Could Legalization of Marijuana Be in Texas's Future?

Opinions on pot are changing in the Lone Star State.

image As you drive up the long, gravel-lined drive of the small clapboard house in south Texas, not much seems unusual. An old hunting dog suns himself on the porch, and the modest decor of the peeling front porch — a weathered rocker and a swing — drips with small-town charm.

El Paso has become an ally in the legalization movement.

You'd never guess that it's quite modern inside, though. Just beyond the front door sit not only tidy living quarters, but a sophisticated cannabis grow house presided over by a war veteran whose hands curl like claws most mornings. His knees and back ache, making mobility difficult, especially when it rains. And here in this small town by the water, it rains often.

A cannabis advocate and medical user, Tim, who asked that we not use his real name, has been smoking cannabis daily for a number of years now, and after a while, growing his own marijuana by means of a hydroponic system seemed the logical way to go.

Tim's hydroponic system and the cannabis plants he grows in it are equally impressive.
Tim's hydroponic system and the cannabis plants he grows in it are equally impressive.
Hundreds of participants in Austin joined the annual Worldwide Marijuana March to the Capitol for cannabis reform.
Mike Bagby
Hundreds of participants in Austin joined the annual Worldwide Marijuana March to the Capitol for cannabis reform.

The contraption he built seems more the brainchild of a mad scientist-cum-expert gardener than of this older country man, but it is his nonetheless. He has crafted it all, from the vent system, powered by two minuscule computer fans, to the plant's light source, an advanced-technology LED lighting system.

In the ten or so years that Tim has been growing, he's become quite the indoor gardener. It's just too risky to grow marijuana outside, and with his apparatus, Tim can control the conditions, genetics and potency of the plant. The lights are set to the flowering and vegetative cycle, and with the careful acuity it takes to garden in here, he sometimes gets two crops from one plant.

What he can't control are the laws of Texas, the ones that say what he is doing is illegal. It's against the law to grow marijuana and equally illegal to use it for any purpose — even though cannabinoids, an active component of cannabis sativa, or marijuana, are widely regarded as a pain reliever for rheumatoid arthritis.

Perhaps not for much longer, though, for reasons as much practical as humanitarian.
_____________________

With the reefer madness currently going on around the nation, a peculiar thing has happened. Texas has started discussing the unthinkable: legalizing marijuana.

Look back a couple of years, and a pro-pot stance in Texas was equal to political death. The only politicians brave enough to broach the subject — guys like Kinky Friedman — were going to be a tough sell to the general public anyway. Today, though, addressing your pot stance is an expected part of the platform.

If the results of recent polls are correct, it seems that Texas residents want what other states have: legalization. A poll conducted by The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune showed that 77 percent of registered voters in Texas believe in some form of legalization. Of that, 28 percent would agree only to medical legalization, while 49 percent are in favor of blanket legalization.

It makes sense that Texans would also set their eyes on the big business of legal reefer. After all, it appears to have worked out well for the states that have repealed prohibitions on marijuana.

Colorado's and Washington's pot industries are thriving. The governor of Colorado has predicted that the next fiscal year will bring the state $98 million in cannabis sales and taxes, a figure that is well above projections. While Washington state is still in the early days of its blanket legalization, forecasters predict that the state will see as much as $190 million over a four-year period, starting in 2015.

Small-business growth in both states is booming, and new cannabis-related jobs are popping up daily in everything from bud-tending to pot tourism. The nation's first "pot editor," Richard Baca, has been hired by The Denver Post; our sister paper Westword in Denver has had a pot writer for the past five years; and a host of other media outlets now employ cannabis writers and reviewers. It seems pot is big business at the moment, and folks from out of state are flocking to Colorado job fairs in record numbers in hopes of landing a gig in the industry.

Contrary to what was predicted in the days prior to legalization in Colorado, cannabis sales aren't raising crime rates. In fact, it appears that in the age of legal weed, crime rates in Colorado are falling. Denver has seen a decrease in property crime and violent crime in the three months that marijuana has been legal, which directly contradicts what opponents had said. Perhaps there is indeed something to that old mellow-pothead stereotype, at least in the Centennial State.

The movement of states on medical marijuana has snowballed, and 22 states and Washington, D.C., have now legalized medical marijuana. As of May 15, Minnesota became the 22nd state to legalize medical cannabis, but the agreed-upon legislation, a toned-down version of the original bill, limits Minnesota to much tighter restrictions than other states. While the law now allows medical patients in the state to use the drug in oil, pill or vapor form, use of the actual marijuana plant is not allowed. The legislation also limits the number of manufacturing facilities and dispensaries statewide.

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49 comments
Thatsfunny
Thatsfunny

mad scientist-cum-expert gardener...  lol

packers
packers

Smoking cigs is worse health wise, but  it's legal, being drunk is just as bad as being stone and alcohol is legal, so why legalizing weed is a bad thing in comparison. I also feel that the crime rate will reduce if this would happen in Texas.

looneyfrtwrth
looneyfrtwrth

I find that this whole matter of the legalization of marijuana funny as hell, and I am also confused by some of the comments from people who think legal weed would destroy this state.  I can tell you from personal experience that anyone I have ever met who is against the use of marijuana is someone who has never tried it, does not associate with anyone who does use marijuana, and only has comments based on all the political and false commercials of what marijuana does to a person.  I have been in a room full of people who are stoned or high if you will, on marijuana and I have been in a room full of drunk people and I much prefer to party with stone people than drunks. Alcohol destroys more lives in so many ways each year than marijuana ever has, we know this by the fact that there are no documented cases in where marijuana was the cause.  I have never seen someone stone start a fight, I have never seen someone stone puke all over the place, I have never seen a stone person have an accident driving, ( this may be because most of the time someone who is stone does not want to go drive a car).  Marijuana has a relaxing effect not only on the brain but also on the body, and once you reach that good comfortable feeling, driving is just not one of the things you want to do.  But if you do find that you have to drive.  I have also been witness to being in the car with many stone people and nearly every time we were always in the slow lane going maybe 45 to 47 miles an hour.  So you fools who have come on here and thought legalization of marijuana is wrong for Texas, then I have only one thing to say to you, you are idiots.  You might take the time to read and consider history, long before we invaded this land we now call America, Indians were here and smoked marijuana in their peace pipes every day.  I ask you, how many really old Indians have you seen walking with a cane, or slumped over unable to stand because of back problems.  How many of them have you seen with any of all the other diseases whites, black, and all other nationalities suffer from.  I have an Indian friend who lives on a reservation in Oklahoma and they allow the smoking and growing of marijuana,  Some of the old people on this reservation are 95 to 104 and act and move around as if they were only sixty or sixty five.  and you idiots also have to consider all the research that has been done over the past twenty years that support the fact that marijuana is a pain reliever, and even a cure for some ailments. So if you don't want Texas to legalize marijuana, then when they do you can move to a state where it is still illegal.  But be warned, eventually every state will legalize marijuana because of its ability to stimulate the economy, think about that. 

rowantom88
rowantom88

The worst thing that Texas could ever do is legalize that evil weed! Isn't driving in our state dangerous enough without having to worry if the person, driving in front of you is stoned and with his reactions slowed down to begin with he stops suddenly and causes an accident?  Do we want Texas to become a hippie wasteland like Colorado?

TexasForever
TexasForever

Take a listen to Afroman's "Because I got High" then tell me if legalization of pot is a good thing?

jesusworks2003
jesusworks2003

Seeking man's wisdom about marijuana, and reject the knowledge of God. "God's truth about marijuana" jesusworksministry.org

midnightfapper69
midnightfapper69

texans aren't fat and lazy enough already, legalizing mj is a good idea.

cdjtiger
cdjtiger

The entire state is controlled by corrupt  lawyers and corrupt politicians  ...  Lawyers make millions defending  average  citizens POM  charges each year, millions and millions.  Most cases  never  see the inside of a court room.  They are plea bargained out with cash payments to the courts and to the lawyers. It is a HUGE racket of asset forfeiture  the crooked courts and crooked judges and crooked DA’s and crooked  lawyers  CA$H cow.  All these brand new privately owned jails  and  detention  centers  depend on this corrupt crooked  despicable situation of marijuana  probation to keep the jails full and the  CA$H  cow  of asset forfeiture  flowing.  

The only way we will see legalized  hemp and marijuana in Texas is the day when all these corrupt politicians, lawyers, judges and the powerful people who secretly run this state  somehow find a way  to CASH  in a vastly greater way  and amount than they are doing  by  keep hemp and marijuana illegal.  They will never ever  do it for the good of the people, or because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

TruDat
TruDat

Isn't Texas the state that is threatening to send a teen to prison for life for making pot brownies? 


stevennolin
stevennolin

@DonkeyHotay  Sounds like you do not understand prohibition. You either pay the black market tax or the government gets their but.

SeedyWard
SeedyWard

You have no citizen initiative process in Texas. Therefore, all of this is up to politicians. Good luck expecting them to behave like real human beings.

beautypeakwebdesign
beautypeakwebdesign

"Could" Legalization of Marijuana Be in Texas's Future? Clearly a rhetorical question, to which the only reasonable answer - unless you are on Big Pharma produced legal, potentially fatal, prescription meds - is Yes! In spite of 70 years of a war on a plant, and $1 TRILLION dollars in taxpayer spending, people have figured out that a plant that has a lower lethal dose than water should not be illegal. With Texas surrounded by states that will legalize in a few years if they haven't already, and Mexico as a source of low grade but cheap weed, they will have no choice. 


My question is, since TX seems to be so big on individual rights and doing what you want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, what is the problem? People are going to smoke the ganja, just like they drank during Prohibition, so why waste police time and taxpayer money fighting the inevitable? On top of that, the Feds are agin it, so shouldn't they be for it just in principle?

richgrise
richgrise

In Kalifornia, the Bill of Rights are numbered, 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. In Texass, the Bil of Rights are numbered 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2.


CoolTex
CoolTex

The real gateway drug is alcohol with tobacco second...they used all the negative evidence found with these two drugs and applied their attributes to pot to further their evil cause...reefer madness...

CoolTex
CoolTex

It is time to ship these robber politicians and their minions back to the robber  baron police states whence they came from. No more property taxes, no more $500 traffic tickets, no more murder by cops, no more theft of land from families, and no more drug war bs! We had no real problems before these monkeys took over and their anti pot and anti hippie Illuminati has to go now! Vote out incumbents, religious nuts, and people on agendas that do not put Texas first! Thieves are stealing the state blind while these buffoons chase kids down for smoking a joint behind the barn! Send them all back to Washington and leave us alone. We do not need them anymore!

cpringle
cpringle

trust this hippie idea will be crushed by Texans - thin edge of the wedge here lads - need to start gaoling users - we have the technology - we need more money and prisons to teach these scofflaws the true value of freedom and liberty.  There is no other solution - look at the places where pot is legal - Holland - Kanada and North Korea - countries of crime and filth with no hope.  Let us increase enforcement to rid the state of this deadly scourge! Amerika MUST remain free of these fatal fantasies - we already have some problems with the bevy of legal drugs including the more benign ones like alcohol and tobacco - do we need more?  I think the consensus is no and can be seen from the majority of informed commenters .

dissturbbed
dissturbbed

Great article btw..don't let that fool get on your nerves. Texas is too conservative to legalize this harmless plant. Proof of this is how one Texas resident is facing 5 years to life for hash brownies, only in Texas would this happen. I have been a TDCJ officer for over ten years and you never hear about the people who are sentenced to 10 or more years for cannabis. Ill never forget this one 19 year old inmate who is serving a 30 year sentence for marijuana. I read their travel cards every time they move between units or are released and what almost made me quit is when a two time child molester in the same cell block as that 19 year old was released time served on a 12 year stint. I cant even describe how i felt that day...it is so messed up, only if the public knew.

eminencefrontman
eminencefrontman

I'll know I live in a truly free country when I can legally ride from one coast to the other with a pistol in one pocket and a bag of marijuana in the other.

Pat149
Pat149

As a person living with chronic pain from spinal arthritis and systemic lupus, an autoimmune disorder, I would love the option to try cannabinoids as an alternative or adjunct to opioid medications. Decriminalization is not good enough. Why should a person be fined for possession of a legitimately prescribed medicine for a documented condition? Why should we not welcome a relatively safe alternative to opiates which produce tolerance and require escalating doses? For that matter, there is no legitimate reason to consider possession or use of marijuana illegal while permitting alcohol and tobacco. 

astorm1952
astorm1952

As a Texas Ex-Pat, I read this with interest. Maybe I will be able to return to my home state rather than move to a more enlightened state. As a current resident of the State of Kansas, I have to argue that the bills that were introduced to the Kansas Legislature, who, like Texas, must approve the change, rather than leaving it to a public vote, are now "stuck" in committee by committee chairs who refuse to allow the bills an initial reading. I always laugh when others hold up Kansas as an example, when the reality is that Kansas has had this bill offered 6 times in the past 6 years and it never gets out of committee. Texas will have legalized marijuana (medical or recreational) long before Kansas gets it head out of its collective ass and brings legalization about. The sad thing is that legalization of marijuana and hemp could save this state (and many others). I wish you well in the fight to legalize marijuana in Texas... I'm moving to Colorado.

seanfromVT
seanfromVT

Cannabis is more then an intoxicant and this should be highlighted on our road to freedom. Small farms can grow cannabis (hemp) for many things and will do so better than most other plants out there. We can produce more food per acre, more fiber per acre and more money per acre for small farms then any other crop out there and none of that would require it being sold as an intoxicant to these know nothing fools in government. Cannabis is a gateway but only to introversion and gardening. I have smoked cannabis for nearly 20 years and I have zero shame in that. I love the euphoria of certain strains and the calming properties of others. My one beef with the piece is that it brings up a myth that strains of marijuana are stronger now then they were in the 70's. This just isn't true and you cannot change genetics. One could say that certain strains have been bred to have higher THC levels but the plant itself hasn't changed much only that the quality is more abundant then it was in the 70's.

Downthelaw
Downthelaw

I'm not from Texas but I am all for it for the state or any states at that matter. It is a crying shame that weed is being so hard to legalize. Why are there people who are so weak and brainwashed into thinking that there should be a pot prohibition? It makes me sick. Legalize this wonderful plant and let freedom ring please. It's not weed that is evil, it is the failed prohibition against weed that is evil. Wake up and smell the pot America. FREE THE PLANT!!! 

markjonesisman
markjonesisman

whoever wrote this is an idiot. but that's okay. FREE THE PLANT!

sweetcookies3333
sweetcookies3333

the government of the united states will legalize it before backwards Texas does

sweetcookies3333
sweetcookies3333

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13


1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy...#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…Texas will be the very last

Deaths by Alcohol and Tobacco: Millions

Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade

Deaths by Guns: Millions

Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions

Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

love and freedom forever

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS! 33 

johncoby
johncoby

Roll up your sleeves. Roll up your doobies and wait, cuz you will be waiting a hell of a long time for Texas to legalize anything.

jbjb
jbjb

What is a "mad scientist-cum-expert"?

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

We cant even have casinos or buy liquor on Sunday, so I seriously doubt it.

darrynlyon
darrynlyon

@rowantom88 I seriously hope you're being sarcastic, because otherwise I feel really, really sorry for you and I'm very surprised you've survived long enough to figure out how to use a computer. 

kendralegs
kendralegs

@rowantom88 Alcohol is legal. I guarantee alcohol is worse on a person that marijuana. Alcohol intoxication is wayyyyy worse that being high. Especially when you are talking about someone being stoned behind the wheel. I would rather be by someone driving stoned than drunk any day!

smpwast3d
smpwast3d

@TexasForever And you think drinking is better? I'd rather see a bunch of stoners than a bunch of drunks any day!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stevennolin ... only an IDIOT would beg the Government to TAX and REGULATE anything they actually cared about.


Only a bong-sucking imbecile would deliberately conflate "harmless marijuana" with deadly alcohol that harms, maims and kills 100s of THOUSANDS of people every year.



CoolTex
CoolTex

@dissturbbed Someone in the legislature has got it in for pot users and has made astounding changes to pot laws with little or no review. This idea that pot is a different drug than the crystals washed off of pot makes it into a different substance is  just cruel. And the fact that cities are making big bank running (clogging) courts with pot users and running up the tab on them to $10,000 for possession of a small amount of pot is evil! There are even two laws on the books! They can choose to write then a traffic ticket or use the court system. They choose the court system. I say get rid of the two choices and bring it to one choice. And Texas needs to have a petition rule also. Not being allowed to submit a petition for a vote is Nazi politics!

CoolTex
CoolTex

@Pat149  The reason is haters and money...their attitude is screw everyone but us...

therealtrickjames
therealtrickjames

Kansas more enlightened than Texas? You lost me right there...

seanfromVT
seanfromVT

I guess I should back track a little and say that obviously you can have GMO weed, and although there are companies out there doing this, that is not why the quality of cannabis has increased over the years. The quality has increased because bad traits and genetics have been bred out and quality cannabis is much more plentiful then it was in the 70's. Cannabis from Thailand is probably of the exact same quality as it was in the summer of 1975 and has a high concentration of THC. This strain could be crossed with a Colombian or Mexican strain and increase that particular strains levels of THC but the plateau is around 25% and I doubt you will see much higher than that. 

seanfromVT
seanfromVT

@markjonesisman  I thought it was a well written piece and I don't really understand why you think the author is an idiot other than maybe it not being in illustration art form for you to break down crayola style. 

annaleicht
annaleicht

@markjonesisman That idiot would be me. Would you like to tell me why I'm an idiot? I mean, perhaps a bit of constructive criticism would be more a more effective route to take...

cdamouse
cdamouse

@annaleicht  I would not say or call you an idiot. It was well written, but just like may father, you ask a question and it takes an hour of talking, and how he came up to his answer, who else he talked to, how long his research took before getting a yes or no answer. I DON"T CARE!!! A lot of people just want an answer. I wanted to know if it could be legal in Texas. I don't care if a guy is growing it illegally, or why he is, or what made him start in the first place..., none of my business. Or the history of Texas views on pot, and how green the grass was before it became illegal the first time, then how green it became when it became legal on the moon, how bright the sun was shining, the birds in the trees....blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.. I only read about 4 paragraphs before I realized that it was an essay, as apposed to yes it could be by this date, or sorry folks not going to happen because on some governor, or senator voted against it.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stevennolin  utter nonsense.


What is the blackmarket / government tax on Oregano ? ... or Tomatoes ?


If the morons would actually LEGALIZE it -- LIKE TOMATOES -- there would be no black market at all.


The current quagmire in Colorado, Washington and elsewhere with their Massive Government Regulation and Taxation schemes is that BOTH markets now pressure those "licensed" producers -- the blackmarket which can ALWAYS produce a better and cheaper crop, and the greedy insatiable bloodsuckers at the Dept. of Revenue who have saddled marijuana with upwards of 30% in taxes.

 
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