Amarillo, TX - A new pro-cannabis organization in Amarillo is looking to grow its campaign by educating and registering more voters who are in favor of their message.
Amarillo Cannabis Culture knows its got an uphill battle with lots of opposition. We decided to find out for ourselves how hard that battle would be by asking area residents how they feel about the legalization of marijuana, and the responses weren't what we expected.
Within the past couple of years, marijuana has taken the spotlight as one of the most talked about issues we've seen in our country. Because the Texas Panhandle is considered mostly conservative, we figured finding opposition to legalizing marijuana would be no problem. it turns out we were wrong.
"I believe that it totally should be," Juan Duran, an area resident, said. "It's just a plant. There's quite a few other states that have already legalized it, so for us to be on the back end of it is kind of ridiculous."
Lindel Churchwell, another area resident, says it's a catch 22, but legalizing marijuana could be a good thing.
"If we can get some kind of way to get marijuana legalized or where its at least controlled, to a degree, then maybe the synthetics will fizzle out, probably not," Churchwell said. "But you know it's a shot."
Amarillo Cannabis Culture said there are many positives with the legalization, especially getting our youth off of harder drugs.
"One of the ways their keeping children away from the harder drugs is to keep them away from the dealer," Jan Jenkins, a member of the organization, said. "In Amarillo if you hook up with your dealer for marijuana and then you want to go on to a stronger drug, you're going to get your dealer to get it. Now in a state where marijuana is regulated, you don't go in a dispensary and buy cocaine or heroine."
Jenkins said legalizing marijuana will also get kids away from synthetic drugs like K2.
Pace Lawson, a drug abuse counselor and founder of Options Recovery in Amarillo, said he disagrees with the organizations tactics.
"I think their argument is somewhat hollow," Lawson said. "And I think it serves a purpose of them trying to gain momentum in attempting to get it legalized in Texas. So they're just trying to sell us on the benefits without addressing the harm. Marijuana causes conflict in families, and like I said before, lungs, the brain, education."
Lawson knows firsthand. He struggled with marijuana as a teen and said his education, personal life and health suffered because of it.
"So you tell me what the positives are. How? what's positive about it?"
Amarillo Cannabis Culture is gaining momentum and has legal counsel guiding its path. It said it has many members who have never smoked marijuana, but are advocates of the message.
It will be hosting a rally this Sunday at Memorial Park beginning at 1 p.m.