Supporters of legalized marijuana gather in Fort Worth

 Why are Texans skeptical of efforts to legalize ‘medical marijuana’?

“Supporters said that they want full legalization but that starting with medical marijuana is the most likely route to victory.”


Special to the Star-Telegram  Mark Rogers Kinky Friedman was the afternoon session guest speaker. Emboldened by loosening laws nationwide, proponents of legalized marijuana gathered Saturday in downtown to push for reform in Texas and build support for what activists say is a fast-growing movement.  Read more here:

Special to the Star-Telegram
Mark Rogers
Kinky Friedman was the afternoon session guest speaker. Emboldened by loosening laws nationwide, proponents of legalized marijuana gathered Saturday in downtown to push for reform in Texas and build support for what activists say is a fast-growing movement.

Ft Worth Star-Telegram, By Sarah Bahari, 06/07/14  FORT WORTH — Emboldened by loosening laws nationwide, proponents of legalized marijuana gathered Saturday downtown to push for reform in Texas and build support for what activists say is a fast-growing movement.

“It’s high time Texas puts prohibition out to pasture,” said Shaun McAlister, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which is hosting the conference. “Prohibition has never worked for Texas, and it’s still not working.”

More than 300 people were expected to attend the second annual conference, which ends Sunday. Topics include medical marijuana, legalization strategies, the politics behind prohibition, women in the movement and grassroots activism. Speakers include humorist/politician Kinky Friedman, patients of medical marijuana and veterans who support the cause.

Texas lags far behind on the issue of cannabis, activists say, but this is a prime time to address legalization.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and others permit medical marijuana.

Activists say that prohibition is in direct opposition to the Republican belief in smaller government and that legalization would deliver millions of dollars to the state’s economy. To put pressure on political leaders, organizers held the conference just blocks away from the State Republican Convention at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

“There are a lot of young conservatives who know there’s nothing conservative about prohibition,” said Heather Fazio, political director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Austin. “This is about liberty.”

Supporters said that they want full legalization but that starting with medical marijuana is the most likely route to victory.

“We are denying people the medicine they need,” McAlister said. “They can go to the doctor and get 20 different pills for pain, but they can’t smoke a plant that has been proven to help?”

Women are the key to legalization, activists say.

“If we can get mothers and grandmothers to join us in this fight, we will get a slam-dunk victory,” said Jamie Balagia, a San Antonio-based attorney who is running for Texas attorney general. “Talk to your moms and your grandmothers. Explain to them why we are fighting.”

Current marijuana laws and enforcement are inconsistent, said Erik Altieri, spokesman for NORML in Washington, D.C., adding that he has met people serving near-life sentences for minor possession. A movement to address these problems is gaining momentum, he added.

“Since Colorado legalized marijuana,” he said, “there is a dialogue going on in this country like never before.”

Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056 Twitter: @sarahbfw

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One response

  1. Senator_Blutarsky

    ” Marijuana ” was demonized so as to eliminate the commercial and industrial uses of hemp.

    William Randolph Hearst (Citizen Kane) and the Hearst Paper Manufacturing Division of Kimberly Clark owned vast acreage of timberlands. The Hearst Company supplied most paper products. Patty Hearst’s grandfather, a destroyer of nature for his own personal profit, stood to lose billions because of hemp.
    In 1937, Dupont patented the processes to make plastics from oil and coal. Dupont’s Annual Report urged stockholders to invest in its new petrochemical division. Synthetics such as plastics, cellophane, celluloid, methanol, nylon, rayon, Dacron, etc., could now be made from oil. Natural hemp industrialization would have ruined over 80% of Dupont’s business.

    Andrew Mellon became Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury and Dupont’s primary investor. He appointed his future nephew-in-law, Harry J. Anslinger, to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
    Secret meetings were held by these financial tycoons. Hemp was declared dangerous and a threat to their billion dollar enterprises. For their dynasties to remain intact, hemp had to go. These men took an obscure Mexican slang word: ‘marihuana’ and pushed it into the consciousness of America.

    Where did the word ‘marijuana’ come from? In the mid 1930s, the M-word was created to tarnish the good image and phenomenal history of the hemp plant…as you will read. The facts cited here, with references, are generally verifiable in the Encyclopedia Britannica which was printed on hemp paper for 150 years:
    * All schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper until the 1880s; Hemp Paper Reconsidered, Jack Frazier, 1974.
    * It was LEGAL TO PAY TAXES WITH HEMP in America from 1631 until the early 1800s; LA Times, Aug. 12, 1981.
    * REFUSING TO GROW HEMP in America during the 17th and 18th Centuries WAS AGAINST THE LAW! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769; Hemp in Colonial Virginia, G. M. Herdon.

    * George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers GREW HEMP; Washington and Jefferson Diaries. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America.
    * Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow’s export to England; Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer.
    * For thousands of years, 90% of all ships’ sails and rope were made from hemp. The word ‘canvas’ is Dutch for cannabis; Webster’s New World Dictionary.
    * 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin.
    * The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp; U.S. Government Archives.
    * The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th Century; State Archives.
    * Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.
    * Rembrants, Gainsboroughs, Van Goghs as well as most early canvas paintings were principally painted on hemp linen.
    * In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs; Department of Agriculture
    * Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935; Sherman Williams Paint Co. testimony before Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.
    * Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONTRUCTED FROM HEMP! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel; Popular Mechanics, 1941.
    * Hemp called ‘Billion Dollar Crop.’ It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars; Popular Mechanics, Feb., 1938.
    * Mechanical Engineering Magazine (Feb. 1938) published an article entitled ‘The Most Profitable and Desirable Crop that Can be Grown.’ It stated that if hemp was cultivated using 20th Century technology, it would be the single largest agricultural crop in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
    The following information comes directly from the United States Department of Agriculture’s 1942 14-minute film encouraging and instructing ‘patriotic American farmers’ to grow 350,000 acres of hemp each year for the war effort:
    ‘…(When) Grecian temples were new, hemp was already old in the service of mankind. For thousands of years, even then, this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth in China and elsewhere in the East. For centuries prior to about 1850, all the ships that sailed the western seas were rigged with hempen rope and sails. For the sailor, no less than the hangman, hemp was indispensable…
    …Now with Philippine and East Indian sources of hemp in the hands of the Japanese…American hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as of our industries…
    …the Navy’s rapidly dwindling reserves. When that is gone, American hemp will go on duty again; hemp for mooring ships; hemp for tow lines; hemp for tackle and gear; hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore. Just as in the days when Old Ironsides sailed the seas victorious with her hempen shrouds and hempen sails. Hemp for victory!’
    Certified proof from the Library of Congress; found by the research of Jack Herer, refuting claims of other government agencies that the 1942 USDA film ‘Hemp for Victory’ did not exist.
    Hemp cultivation and production do not harm the environment. The USDA Bulletin #404 concluded that Hemphemp produces 4 times as much pulp with at least 4 to 7 times less pollution. From Popular Mechanics, Feb. 1938:
    ‘It has a short growing season…It can be grown in any state…The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop. The dense shock of leaves, 8 to 12 feet above the ground, chokes out weeds.
    …hemp, this new crop can add immeasurably to American agriculture and industry.’

    Lets look at this from a broader perspective –

    What is “Constitutional” about the entire War on Drugs program? all good “conservatives ” support the Con & Bill of Rights, correct ? So why do they get all giddy about the drug issue ?

    Do they also support the massive beauracracy of the Justice Dept, DEA and all those local SWAT-zi units with no-knock warrants, deaths and disruption of personal lives, all the while destroying the 4th Amendment?

    How many accidents and deaths have been caused by this war ?…..worldwide – wholesale slaughter and assassination all thru central and south America, because of the extreme profit motive, of a forbidden substance ?

    As Vin Suprynowicz likes to remind us, “Did you ever notice how beer distributors
    stopped murdering each other in 1933?”

    I dare say more people are dead and injured by alcohol each year, and misdiagnosis of prescription drugs by doctors, and any number of other issues.

    As a side note, if we were to begin growing and harvesting hemp again, you would see a valuable resource of food, energy, clothing material and dozens of other uses. Henry Ford even built a car out of hemp. The big Agri & Pharma cartels were behind demonizing hemp

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