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  • By Kate McDermott
  • 2021-05-05 | May 05, 2021
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Giving Tuesday - Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy
written by Kate McDermott

Another election has come and gone, another slew of cannabis reforms on the books! All five states with cannabis initiatives on their ballots this year have passed their measures, making recreational or medical marijuana legal in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Mississippi.

Here in Texas where the GRAV team hangs their hats, things seem to move at a glacial pace. One organization working to usher things along is Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, a coalition dedicated to a meaningful medical marijuana program in Texas, along with removing penalties for adult possession.

Clearly, those are causes we support. So this Giving Tuesday, December 2nd, we’ll be donating all the day’s proceeds to Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, to help fund their advocacy and outreach.

Learn more about TRMP, their founder, and their mission.

 

About Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy

What do the Texas Young Republicans, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, and ACLU Texas have in common? They (among many others) are all coalition partners of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. Promoting “sensible marijuana policies,” the group reaches across partisan and political lines to move toward more accessibility to medical marijuana and decreased penalties for low-level possession offenses.

Director Heather Fazio is not new to cannabis advocacy. She has been an advisory board member of Texas NORML since 2012, and spent four years as the Texas Political Director of the national Marijuana Policy Project.

Heather and TRMP provide educational resources and training about cannabis, lobby legislators, and get citizens involved in advocating for an end to unreasonably punitive marijuana policies.

In a recent interview with Liz Grow and Patrick Pope from Grow House Media, Ms. Fazio said, “There is a ton of change happening at the federal level and at the state level. People’s minds are changing on this, and they’re thinking about an alternative to prohibition, which has been a failure by every measure.”


Compassionate Use Expansion

One of the group’s major focuses is further expansion of Texas’ Compassionate Use Program. Established in 2015 and amended in 2019, this program allows for extremely limited medical use of low-THC cannabis.

Restricted to less than 0.5% THC and only available for patients with specific illnesses like multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and ALS, the plan leaves out over a million Texans who could benefit from plant medicine. And it prevents their doctors from acting in the best interest of their patients.

TRMP is working to promote a legitimate medical marijuana policy that will let more Texans access much-needed medical care.


Smokable Hemp Ban

Texas hemp’s legal status has been bandied back and forth more than a Pong ball. TRMP is working to amend the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) regulatory overreach on smokable hemp products

If you’re unfamiliar, here’s the rundown.

Hemp was finally legalized on a federal level with the 2018 Farm Bill. Texas followed suit in 2019 with House Bill 1325, which allows the production, manufacture, and retail sale of hemp and hemp products, but forbids the manufacture of products intended for smoking (like pre-rolls and vapes).

Farmers began planting hemp in early 2020, and all seemed to be going pretty well in this new industry. To get around the ban on manufacturing smokable products, farmers planned to ship their hemp out-of-state for manufacture, so it could then be re-imported for sale. These products are legal to consume, remember!

Then, DSHS stepped it up to ban the retail sale of these smokable products. But...they’re still legal to possess and to buy online. So anyone who wished to buy smokable hemp could simply buy from a non-Texas-based retailer. In effect — all the ban does is hurt Texas hemp retail businesses.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy has been a vocal critic of this senseless ban, and has advocated for its repeal. Four hemp farmers filed suit to get it reversed, and the ban has been placed on hold until the issue goes to trial in early February.


Information and Resources

TRMP provides a variety of tools and resources that citizens can take advantage of to get involved and get educated.

For starters, visit their Legislator Voting Records page to see how your legislators have voted on marijuana initiatives. Once you’re up-to-date, you can send them emails either thanking them for their votes and encouraging more of the same, or asking them to change their stance and vote for sensible marijuana policy reform.
TRMP also hosts the annual Texas Marijuana Policy Conference, which took place virtually in late November of this year. The event brings lawmakers, advocates, patients, and doctors together where they can discuss cannabis issues from decriminalization to legalization, research to investment.

One of the speakers at the conference this year was a familiar face — our friend Max Montrose of the Trichome Institute.

There’s more to learn on the TRMP website, so we encourage you to poke around.



Giving Tuesday

Our Giving Tuesday donation will help Heather Fazio and the coalition to lobby for all Texans’ rights to enjoy cannabis and access plant medicine. All proceeds from December 2nd purchases will go to the cause, so it’s a great day to do your Christmas shopping!

And if you’d like to make a direct donation to support the cause, you can do that too.

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