BROWNSVILLE — Thousands of people across the country participated in the “It’s about time march” to show their support of the soon to be voted on Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE), which would decriminalize marijuana.
A woman organizing a local march explains what impact MORE could have on the Rio Grande Valley community.
“It’s recreational, medicinal, disabled veterans, patients who don’t have access to the Texas Compassionate Use Program and just regular people that just want to get high,” Brandy Martinez, cannabis legalization activist said.
Among the things the MORE Act would do is do away with the records for individuals with low-level cannabis convictions.
While it would also allow for recreational use, Martinez supports MORE because of what it could do for her community.
“Recreational for me is not important,” Martinez said. “I just want to decriminalize cannabis so people here in the RGV who don’t have a way to get a job or receive an income because of this cannabis-related discrimination that’s going on. We just got to end that racial injustice.”
Additionally, a five percent federal tax would be placed on cannabis products to fund the criminal record expungement efforts and community reinvestment programs.
The owners of Brownsville’s Oasis CBD shop said they are for the act and would be willing to start selling cannabis products.
“In case that it comes out legally and we can offer that if it’s going to help the people, it’s going to help Brownsville we will do it,” Rohanda Hernandez said. “We’re here to help. We’re here to be a blessing to others.”
Hernandez opened the shop because CBD worked for her to improve her health. Though she is unfamiliar with what the advantages are in consuming higher amounts of THC, she looks forward to learning more.
“Knowing more about that specific chemical and see all the effects, not only getting high, that’s the one that we know,” Hernandez said. “But knowing more about it would be a huge benefit.”
While the act is likely to pass in the House, the Senate will not get to vote until the next legislative session. With the current Republican-majority, it could prove more difficult.
Opponents of the bill, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell cite the concern of cannabis being a gateway drug.