New Texas Group Plans To Put Marijuana Initiatives On Local Ballots After Legislative Disappointments

MJ moment

Texas legislators made progress this session on some incremental marijuana policy changes. But activists were hoping for more, and a newly formed progressive coalition that’s being led by two former congressional candidates is aiming to take cannabis and other issues directly to voters by putting reform measures on local ballots across the state. Ground Game Texas, a nonprofit spearheaded by former Democratic candidates Julie Oliver and Mike Siegel, isn’t exclusively focused on marijuana. But their mantra is “workers, wages and weed”—indicating that the group views drug policy reform as a key part of the its mission. By engaging voters on issues like marijuana reform that are popular among young people and Democrats, it stands to reason that the organization could also influence turnout in upcoming elections, potentially shifting the GOP-skewed balance of power in the conservative state legislature. There is no statewide citizen-led initiative process that would enable advocates to put an issue like decriminalization or legalization on the Texas ballot. But at the local level, there are limited cases where activists can leverage home rule laws that allow for policy changes. Meanwhile, major metropolitan areas like Austin and Dallas have already independently enacted law enforcement policy changes that reduce enforcement for marijuana-related offenses—by issuing citations and summons, for example. That’s the type of limited reform that could theoretically be accomplished via citizen initiative under certain local statutes. A strong majority of Texans back even broader reform, according to recent polling. Sixty percent of voters in the state support making cannabis legal “for any use,” signaling that local initiatives for more modest proposals like decriminalization would likely pass easily. “We’re not waiting for politicians to make change,” Ground Game Texas said. “We will work to put popular policies on the ballot and engage voters on the issues.” “Progressive ideas—a $15…

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Source : New Texas Group Plans To Put Marijuana Initiatives On Local Ballots After Legislative Disappointments

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