Texas voters will head to the polls this November, and some will be armed with information about the candidates’ stances on various marijuana policies.
Through the collective efforts of numerous people around the state, Texas NORML has produced the Texas Marijuana Policy Voter Guide. The non-profit organization, which is dedicated to changing cannabis laws, routinely publishes this guide during the primaries and general elections. The first such guide was created in 2012.
According to the group, “We surveyed candidates seeking to represent you at the Capitol in Austin and in D.C. Answers provided have been unedited. You will also find the 2015 and 2017 Legislator Voting Record for incumbents pertaining to their votes over the last two legislative sessions.”
Five questions were asked of each candidate.
1) Do you support or oppose changing state law to allow residents with debilitating medical conditions (e.g. cancer, multiple sclerosis, PTSD) to access whole plant medical marijuana with a physician’s certification?
2) Do you support or oppose changing state law to make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine and no time in jail? Under current Texas laws, individuals found in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana can be arrested and given a criminal record, and they face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
3) Do you support or oppose changing state law to allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana and establishing a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol? Under such a system, it would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana.
4) Do you support or oppose changing state law to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp? Industrial hemp is genetically similar to marijuana but contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana (THC). Although it is illegal to grow in the U.S., it is cultivated around the world for its seed and fiber, which are used in many legal products, such as paper, textiles, construction materials, and fuel.
5) Do you agree or disagree that states should be able to carry out their own marijuana policies without interference from the federal government?
Not all candidates answered the survey.
A high profile U.S. Senate race this year only had one respondent, Libertarian Party candidate Neal Dikeman. Both incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz, and Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke did not respond.
Two other major state-wide races, both for governor and lieutenant governor, saw responses from Libertarian candidates Mark Tippetts and Kerry Douglas McKennon respectively. The Republican and Democratic candidates did not respond.
Voters are permitted to print out materials and carry them into the voting booth with them for reference.
The deadline for voter registration has passed. Those who are registered can begin voting starting on Monday, October 22 which marks the beginning of early voting.
Early voting ends on Friday, November 2. Election day will be on Tuesday, November 6.
Visit www.texasnorml.org/voters-guide to find out where your candidates stand.
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