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San Marcos Medical Marijuana Initiative Fails


May-June 1997

Voters in San Marcos, Texas defeated a medical marijuana initiative by greater than a 2-1 margin on May 3. Backers of medical marijuana in this small Central Texas town introduced the initiative that would have directed police officers to use their best judgement when enforcing drug laws on patients using marijuana for medical purposes. Many supporters of the initiative are students at Southwest Texas State University, who had already left for the summer when the vote came up (Roger Croteau, "Marijuana initiative loses in San Marcos," San Antonio Express News, May 4, 1997, p. A1).

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) came to San Marcos to warn citizens about the dangers of medical marijuana before the vote. U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) has since sent a letter to the DEA questioning the appropriateness of trying to influence an election. Supporter Zeal Stefanoff said, "It's exciting to know we could get 32% when we spent almost no money and we had the DEA in town organizing the opposition with federal money."

In response to the San Marcos initiative, Texas state Representative Dianne Delisi (R-Temple) (Tel: (512) 463-0630) submitted a bill (H.B. 2213) that would prohibit municipal and county governments from putting medical marijuana or other measures allowing the use of illegal drugs on their ballots. The bill passed the House and Senate, and is expected to be signed, Patrick Dempsey, a capitol associate for the Texas legislature, told NewsBriefs ("Bill would blunt local marijuana polls," Houston Chronicle, May 17, 1997, p. 35A).

To contact the San Marcos Medical Marijuana Initiative, call Harvey Ginsberg at (512) 392-9927.