Group to promote 'Free the Weed' in Victoria

Gabriella Canales By Gabriella Canales

Feb. 11, 2018 at 9:27 p.m.
Updated Feb. 12, 2018 at 6:30 a.m.

Marijuana can be a scary word, but the organizer of an event to promote legalization said she hopes to change that.

"We are not here for a big Snoop Dog fest," organizer Melisa Barksdale, 28, of Placedo, said. "It's a lot more than that."

Barksdale is organizing Cannabis Open Carry Walk to educate the public about the lack of cannabis freedom in Texas and how to become an active part in change. Barksdale said cannabis for recreational and medical use is the focus for 2019.

The Victoria walk is part of the "Free the Weed in Texas" movement. The group has had several walks across Texas, Barksdale said.

The Facebook event for Victoria has 146 people attending and more than 700 interests as of Sunday.

Barksdale, the event organizer, works for the American Cannabis Co.

She and her husband grow one strand called Charlotte's Web in Colorado for children with medical issues, mainly seizures.

The strand has no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical compound in cannabis responsible for a euphoric high.

After Barksdale had to have her left leg amputated in 2009 when she was hit by a car, the pain and treatment she was going through took a toll on her, she said.

"You are going to die here," she said a doctor told her. "Go to Colorado."

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabis compound that has medical benefits, but does not make people feel high. The product she used acted as muscle relaxant and provided her relief.

Barksdale was previously active in Colorado's cannabis journey. Five years ago, she had a similar event in Victoria for nurses.

Not to be confused with open carry gun legislation, the concept "open carry" means rights, she said, because people who have medical marijuana cards cannot purchase firearms.

At Tuesday's event, Barksdale will share some of the more than 200 stories from people she has meet across Texas and in Victoria. About five patients also are scheduled to speak.

Informational items will be available for attendees, she said. Everyone is invited to attend.

Legislation would benefit children and veterans who need treatment, she said, so she encourages people to vote.

She plans to continue having the event throughout the year, but on a smaller scale.

Barksdale said healing is the main goal.

"This is our community," she said. "These are our people."


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