Texas Republican Party policies include opposition to cannabis legalization
A recent gathering of the Texas State Republican Party issued a number of platform stances on multiple topics, including cannabis.
The 2022 Texas State Republican Convention was held last week between June 16-18 for the first time in-person since 2018. There, the party voted to establish 275 platform planks, or principal policies of the Republican party, to address a multitude of agenda topics.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke posted on Twitter some of the “extreme agenda” among these planks as: “abolish abortion, defund public schools, take away health care, repeal gun laws, deny voting rights, reject marijuana legalization.”
The Report of the Permanent 2022 Platform & Resolutions Committee policy list briefly addresses cannabis, marijuana, hemp and synthetic drugs.
It only mentions cannabis once, which is described as “Cannabis Classification: Congress should remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 and move to Schedule 2.”
However, it also uses the term marijuana as well. “Marijuana Remains Illegal: Oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana and offer opportunities for drug treatment before penalties for its illegal possession, use, or distribution.”
Finally, it briefly refers to hemp. “Reduce Business Regulations: We believe that the following businesses should be minimally regulated at all levels,” which among a list of 14 laws in question, it states “Use of hemp as an agricultural commodity.”
The party will still need to formally tally and approve these planks. Until then, it is uncertain if the planks will become officially recognized.
In 2018, the Texas Republican Party endorsed cannabis decriminalization, and also called for a change to the herb’s federal classification of Schedule I.
Earlier this year in January, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has stated his support for cannabis reform with decriminalization.
“Marijuana is now a Class C misdemeanor in the state of Texas, and so one thing that I believe in—and I believe the state legislature believes in—and that is prison and jail is a place for dangerous criminals who may harm others, and small possession of marijuana is not the type of violation that we want to stockpile jails with,” said Abbott.
“So, we have been making steps in that regard.” However, his statement was incorrect in referencing the current law, with low-level cannabis possession still being a Class B misdemeanor and can lead to up to six months in jail.
A recent poll conducted by The Dallas Morning News and The University of Texas at Tyler, Texas voters from all political parties want to see medical cannabis legalization. According to the poll results released in May, 91% of Democrats, 81% of Independents and 74% of Republicans reported support. The same question asked participants about their support or opposition on adult-use cannabis, but were not as strong as opinions on medical cannabis (76% of Democrats, 64% of Independents and 42% of Republicans respectively).
Meanwhile, cannabis advocates are proceeding along toward decriminalization on the ballot. So far, the cities of Harker Heights, Killeen, San Marcos, and Denton all have working ballot initiatives, and recently a decriminalization and no-knock warrant initiative called Prop A in Austin was approved by voters on May 7. These efforts were driven by Ground Game Texas.
“Following the success of Prop A in Austin and the recent securing of ballot initiatives in Killeen and San Marcos, Ground Game Texas is proud to give Harker Heights residents the opportunity to decriminalize marijuana,” said Ground Game Texas’s Executive Director Julie Oliver in a press release.
“Ground Game Texas continues to demonstrate that popular policies around issues like workers, wages, and weed can help expand and electrify the electorate in Texas when they’re put directly in front of voters.”