Texas: Marijuana Activists Mobilizing Statewide; 3 Out Of 4 Voters Support Reform

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy to Mobilize Activists Statewide in Effort to Inject Marijuana Policy Debate Into 2016 State Legislative Races; New Texas Lyceum Poll Finds Three Out of Four Voters Support Reform

First of several regional advocacy training events will be held Saturday in San Antonio; UTSA criminal justice professor and former corrections officer Michel Gilbert will be a guest speaker

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy will hold an advocacy training event Saturday, October 3, in San Antonio that will mark the beginning of a statewide effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Dallas on October 31, Corpus Christi on November 7, East Texas on December 5, and Houston on December 12.

“Comprehensive marijuana reform saw tremendous progress this legislative session largely because families and regular Texans shared their stories with lawmakers,” said State Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio). “The movement to change our antiquated and dangerous prohibition laws are gaining traction. However, that momentum will be lost unless citizens stay engaged with their lawmakers during the interim and campaign season.

“That's why these advocacy training events are so important because citizens will be the catalyst for change,” Sen. Menéndez said. “I'm excited the inaugural training session is taking place in San Antonio. Poll after poll shows Texans are ready for comprehensive marijuana reform.”

Guest speaker at the Saturday event in San Antonio is Michael Gilbert, Ph.D., a University of Texas San Antonio professor of criminal justice who previously served as a corrections officer. He will join representatives of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy for a media availability at 12 p.m. CT, and members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 1 p.m. CT.

“Our goal is to provide local activists with the tools they need to make marijuana policy part of the debate leading up to next year’s elections,” said Heather Fazio, a spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “State lawmakers considered several marijuana policy reform proposals this year, and they will again next session. Voters deserve to know which candidates want to maintain Texas’s failed marijuana prohibition policies and which ones want to take a new approach.”

According to a statewide poll released Wednesday by the Texas Lyceum, three out of four voters support reforming the state’s current marijuana laws. Just less than 75 percent of those surveyed think marijuana should either be legal or that possession should be decriminalized, and 57 percent of those who oppose making it legal think it should be decriminalized. The full results are available at http://bit.ly/1LPFoDL .

“Wasting public resources on marijuana enforcement has been counterproductive and distracted us from more pressing law enforcement matters,” Dr. Gilbert said. “It has also damaged the lives of otherwise innocent fathers, mothers, and children. I look forward to helping mobilize those who demand justice in Texas.”

WHAT: First of several regional advocacy trainings for activists who will be working to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

WHEN: Saturday, October 3, featured speaker begins at approximately 1 p.m. CT

WHERE: Mission Branch Library, 3134 Roosevelt Ave., San Antonio

WHO: Michael Gilbert, Ph.D., UTSA criminal justice professor and former corrections officer
Representatives from Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy
Local volunteer advocates