Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller printed an editorial on Friday calling for improved entry to medical marijuana within the state, writing that state leaders ought to “lead or simply get out of the best way if we can not formulate efficient hashish coverage for Texas.”
Within the letter, which Miller posted to the Texas Division of Agriculture’s official web site, the commissioner famous that he advocated for the legalization of hemp within the state and is now answerable for regulating a whole bunch of hemp companies. He wrote that he additionally supported the event of merchandise for medical use together with hemp oil, that are bettering the lives of Texans on a regular basis when different medicines have failed. Miller added that he would enhance entry to medical hashish within the subsequent 12 months. In 2015, the state legalized the usage of low-THC hashish merchandise as a therapy for epilepsy, including further qualifying medical situations in 2019 and 2021.
“It’s my objective subsequent 12 months to broaden entry to the compassionate use of hashish merchandise in Texas so that each Texan with a medical want has entry to those medicines,” Miller wrote.
Hashish Enforcement Mire in Bias
In his editorial, Miller famous that the historical past of hashish prohibition and enforcement in the US has been riddled with bias and values not according to professed American beliefs. He additionally famous that hashish coverage choices have typically been made based mostly on misinformation and emotion reasonably than actuality and that the federal government ought to solely make issues unlawful “for a strong purpose or set of information.”
“As I look again, I consider that hashish prohibition got here from a spot of concern, not from medical science or the evaluation of social hurt. Sadly, the roots of this got here from a historical past of racism, classism, and a big central authorities with an authoritarian want to regulate others. It’s as anti-American in its origins as could possibly be possible,” Miller wrote. “In the present day, within the twenty first century, this should finish. We should begin with a brand new chapter and a brand new angle about the usage of hashish – particularly in relation to its potential medicinal advantages.”
Miller, a Republican, famous in his message that 39 states “together with politically conservative states corresponding to Oklahoma, Utah and Florida” have handed measures to legalize the medicinal use of hashish. Greater than a dozen others “together with conservative western states like Arizona, Montana and Alaska, have legalized business hashish gross sales” for all adults aged 21 and older.
“Whereas I’m not certain that Texas is able to go that far, I’ve seen firsthand the worth of hashish as drugs to so many Texans,” Miller wrote.
Combined Messages from Texas Republicans
The Republican management in Texas has not expressed a constant stance on hashish coverage. Whereas campaigning for re-election in January, Governor Greg Abbot mentioned that Texas prisons ought to be reserved “for harmful criminals who could hurt others.”
“Small possession of marijuana will not be the kind of violation that we wish to stockpile jails with,” said Abbot.
However Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is without doubt one of the state’s most vocal hashish opponents.
“The Lt. Governor has made it fairly explicitly clear that he’s not on board for lessening the state’s drug legal guidelines round marijuana,” Joshua Clean, analysis director for the College of Texas Austin’s Texas Politics Venture, mentioned earlier this 12 months. “However I feel like some other public determine, if strain continues to mount, particularly inside his personal get together, there’s no purpose he can’t change his thoughts.”
Noting that 4 out of 5 Texans assist the compassionate use of hashish, Miller known as on Abbot and the state’s lawmakers to extend entry to medicinal hashish through the subsequent legislative session.
“It’s time for all of us, together with the Governor, members of the Texas Legislature and others to return collectively and put aside our political variations to have an sincere dialog about hashish: the place now we have been, the place we’re going and what position authorities ought to correctly play,” Miller concluded. “We owe it to our fellow Texans, particularly those that are struggling, to steer or simply get out of the best way if we can not formulate efficient hashish coverage for Texas.”