Cannabis rally organizers work to expand spotlight

Ismael Perez By Ismael Perez

Feb. 13, 2018 at 9:51 p.m.

A group of people who support the legalization of marijuana pose for a photographer at a rally along North Navarro Street and Mockingbird Lane.

A group of people who support the legalization of marijuana pose for a photographer at a rally along North Navarro Street and Mockingbird Lane.   Evan Lewis for The Victoria Advocate

Vehicles blared their horns as they passed by Tracee Bricker and a group who held colorful signs and flags asking for community support at the intersection of North Navarro Street and Mockingbird Lane.

Drivers responded to messages that read "Honk 4 Weed" and "Come and Toke It."

Bricker, who is living with a thyroid dysfunction, hoped the event brought Texas a step closer to legalize the use of recreational and medical marijuana.

"I'm tired of being sick. I don't want to be 26 and bed-bound," she said. "Nobody should have to choose to live illegally alive versus legally dead."

More than 90 people attended the Cannabis Open Carry Walk on Tuesday by the intersection.

The event was organized to educate the public about the lack of cannabis freedom in Texas and how to become an active part in change, organizers said.

Nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over 21, which includes the states of Alaska, California and Colorado, according to businessinsider.com.

In Texas, however, if people are caught with any amount of cannabis, they will most likely be jailed because it's still a misdemeanor, a Cannabis Open Carry Walk organizer said. Medical cannabis is available for those with epilepsy, but it has to be prescribed by doctors.

The cannabis open carry walks started in February throughout Texas and will be scheduled throughout the year and part of 2019.

Cannabis for recreational and medical use will be the focus for 2019, said Kory Watkins, of Greenville, who is running for Texas governor. He traveled about five hours to support the Victoria event.

"I'm here because I am tired of people being locked in a cage for a plant," he said. "If Texans feel they want to use it for recreation or medical purposes, they should have the freedom to do so."

Melisa Barksdale, 38, of Placedo, was the event organizer. She said the response the group received from passing traffic made the Cannabis Open Carry Walk a success.

She said she hopes to open her own dispensary in Victoria if the use of cannabis is legalized, and she also dreams of seeing dispensaries down North Navarro Street.

Barksdale said she will keep organizing events that will raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis. She encouraged people who are against the legalization of cannabis to attend the events.

"We are here to educate. I am going to have an event just for them," Barksdale said. "I want them to come. I want those who don't understand or are scared to come and ask questions."


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