Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is calling on Texas officials to adopt a new attitude about cannabis and its uses, urging Gov. Greg Abbott to make it a priority in the upcoming legislative session.

In his editorial entitled “Standing Up For Compassionate Use,” Miller notes his experience with Texas hemp growers and says, “In a free society, government should only make something illegal for a powerful reason or set of facts.”

I believe that cannabis prohibition came from a place of fear, not from medical science or the analysis of social harm. Sadly, the roots of this came from a history of racism, classism, and a large central government with an authoritarian desire to control others.

“When four out of five Texans support compassionate use, we need to have state law and state policy reflect that desire,” Miller said. According to a study done at UT Tyler, 60 percent of Texas voters support legalizing cannabis for recreational use, and 83 percent support legalizing it for medical use.

Medical marijuana is currently only available to those with severe medical conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and terminal cancer, and is only available in doses of less than 0.5 percent THC (the psychoactive component in the plant).

Miller explains that other conservative states like Arizona, Montana, and Alaska have “legalized commercial cannabis sales to adults.”

While he doesn’t think Texas must completely legalize cannabis, Miller says he has seen the effectiveness of medical marijuana where other drugs have failed.

However, one plank in the Texas GOP platform opposes the “legalization of recreational marijuana.”

Meanwhile, Miller is calling for action from the governor and members of the Texas Legislature to “set aside our political differences to have an honest conversation about cannabis: where we have been, where we are going, and what role the government should properly play.”

Jake Peterson

Jake Peterson is a journalism fellow for Texas Scorecard. During high school he competed in speech and debate and now works to teach the unbiased truth, and expose corruption.

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