BEAUMONT - The legalization of recreational marijuana is on this election's ballot in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. But activists in Southeast Texas say they hope it will soon be legalized for more medical purposes in Texas. With the recent passing of the Texas Compassionate Use Act in June of 2015, cannabis supporters believe that they have a foot in the door. The act allows for registered physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis or CBD oil to patients with intractable epilepsy.
“CBD only helps a small percentage of epileptics,” said Corey Mendes, co-founder of the Southeast Texas chapter of NORML. “CBD has been shown to help epilepsy in certain patients, but CBD only has also been shown that it doesn't work as effectively as when it's combined with THC which is another cannabinoid in cannabis.”
While Mendes agrees that the Act allows his organization the opportunity for conversation about broader legalization in Texas, the goal for NORML is recreational use.
“We didn't initiate or push the CBD bill, but now that it's law we are working with the people that are setting this up to try and form it into something that would be more beneficial to more people,” said Mendes.
Dustin Galmor, who is a registered lawyer for NORML, says he believes that already there are fewer marijuana cases that are pursued for prosecution.
“I don't go to every court in Texas,” said Galmor. “But I would suspect that marijuana punishment has probably softened over the last decade across the state of Texas and across the country really.”
While the overall goal for NORML is to legalize marijuana across the board, Texas State Representative Dade Phelan says that while he supports medical use, he wouldn’t support recreational use for the drug.
“If we can prescribe some of the many pharmaceutical drugs we prescribe now, that are legal, that are as addictive as anything else out there on the market, we ought to look at all options for our patients here in Texas,” said Phelan. “I wouldn't say so much the liberalization of marijuana, as much as a compassion for those who are dying or those who are ill.”
Mendes believes recreational use will happen
“In the end it's going to be legal,” said Mendes. “The motion, the wheels, the momentum have already been turning on it.”
© 2017 KBMT-TV