There are universal truths and eternal truths, but we mostly we just try to figure it out as we go.
I grew up in the age when many of the views and values that most folks share today would have been unacceptable. Views on race and the sexes, and what it meant to be moral and decent.
I was born at a time when women in trousers were scandalous and only minorities, hippies, and liberals smoked the “devil weed.”
In 2022, those views, informed then by cultural or racial biases, suspicions, and fear, have given way to technological advancement, knowledge, and understanding. That improved understanding informs our compassion and empathy.
Which brings me back to one of those universal truths – In a free society, government needs strong reasons to make something illegal. With what we know today, cannabis should be available as medicine to every Texan who would benefit.
I am proud that Texas now has a compassionate use program. It shows that our hearts and heads are already where they should be. But we must go further, much further, so that every Texan is free to seek and use this medicine lawfully and confidently.
Polling shows over 80% of Texans from all political parties agree that the time is now. The two parties don’t see eye to eye on almost anything these days, but on compassionate use, there is near unanimity.
39 states, including solid conservative states like Oklahoma, Utah, and Florida, have legalized cannabis for compassionate use. There are also 18 states that have legalized cannabis for all adults. 60% of Texans support this position.
But with full legalization, the evidence is not so clear. There are benefits and costs. Many of the social consequences in those states are just now being experienced and studied. I’m not ready to go there, but as I said, at the end of the day government needs strong reasons to prohibit free people from their peaceful choices. I am sure that debate will continue.
But on compassionate use, the evidence is clear and compelling. This medicine has the potential to give people back a quality of life they thought or feared was gone. Who are we to deny them their right to try, knowing what we do?
As the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, I have responsibilities in our fields, our rural hospitals, and for everyone making a living off our blessed Texas soil. For all of them, and every Texan, I say the time is now.
Fully legalize compassionate use in Texas.