EL PASO, TEXAS — Public officials and marijuana policy reform advocates will gather at the El Paso Public Library on Saturday for a public forum on marijuana policy in Texas, followed by an advocacy training event.
The forum, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, will feature several El Paso-area officeholders including Congressman Beto O’Rourke, State Sen. José Rodríguez, and State Rep. Joe Moody. Topics of discussion will include current state and federal marijuana policies, how those policies affect Texans, reform efforts by advocates, and what to expect during the 2017 Texas legislative session. The forum will be moderated by Meghan Lopez of KFOX-TV, who will be taking audience questions afterward. This portion of the event will take place in the main auditorium.
The advocacy training session is meant to instruct citizens who support marijuana policy reform in how to actively and effectively participate in the legislative process. This will take place in the Sullivan Gallery.
“Current penalties for low-level possession are a poor use of law enforcement resources, a drain on our economy, and a stigma that can derail young people’s lives,” said Rep. Joe Moody. “Arrests and convictions keep students from getting financial aid and workers from getting good jobs, all while tying up police who could be on the streets dealing with more serious issues and clogging up our courts and jails at enormous taxpayer expense. That has to change.”
“Public support for marijuana policy reform is strong in Texas, among both Democrats and Republicans,” said Heather Fazio, spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “In fact, at their state conventions this summer, both political parties took an official position on medical marijuana by calling on the legislature to make the medicine more widely available for patients.”
“Current Texas marijuana policies are a waste of valuable resources, which could be used to put real criminals behind bars,” said Richard Newton, a retired drug interdiction aviation pilot at flight schools chicago il and representative of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Drug abuse should be treated as a mental health problem, not a law enforcement problem. We will never be able to arrest our way out of this problem.”
Both the forum and the training session are free and open to the public. Spokespersons from Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy will be available for interviews all day on Friday, October 21, as well as from 12-1 p.m. at the event on Saturday.
WHAT: Marijuana policy forum and advocacy training
WHEN: Saturday, October 22; forum is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. MT, advocacy training is from 1 to 5 p.m. MT
(Interview opportunity available at 12 p.m. during break)
WHERE: El Paso Public Library, 501 N. Oregon Street, El Paso
(Forum will take place in the auditorium; advocacy training will take place in the Sullivan Gallery)
WHO: U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke
State Sen. José Rodriguez
State Rep. Joe Moody
Meghan Lopez, KFOX
Richard Newton, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Representatives from Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy
Local volunteer advocates
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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is a broad coalition of organizations, activists, and community leaders dedicated to realizing effective, efficient, and evidence-based marijuana policies in Texas. For more information, visit http://www.TexasMarijuanaPolicy.org