AUSTIN, Texas -- In order to remove the stigma of medical marijuana, crowds marched through Austin Saturday as a part of the 10th annual Marijuana March.
Dave Wieneche, the group's athletics director said we're constantly losing Texans because they need the drug for medical reasons.
“Or they're just passing away because they can't afford their medicine, or because the pharmaceuticals they're taking are deteriorating their bodies,” he said.
They hope by focusing on marijuana law reform, families can have better access to healthcare.
Holding signs and chanting, the march began at Austin City Hall and trailed through Downtown before it ended at the steps of the Texas State Capitol.
Speakers such as Amanda Berard, a pediatric caregiver, said she witnessed the pain of young children prescribed opioids.
“The autonomy of these patients are completely stripped away and there's not even a conversation about options,” Berard said.
Eric Espionza, born with cerebral palsy and an active marijuana user, said although three bills related to cannabis legalization have failed, the fight isn't over.
"The next two years are vital for us. We need you to be the voice you said you would be for us and stand for us when we cannot,” Espionza said.
House Bill 2017, which would have given patients access to whole plant medical marijuana, did not make it onto the calendar in time to be heard by the House.
House Bill 81 would decriminalize possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or less and turn it into a civil offense. That died in the House without any votes this week.
The next opportunity to pass legislation will come in 2019 when the Texas legislature meets again. Until then, there are already 29 states which have passed medical marijuana laws.
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