Hundreds gather for annual Marijuana March
Chants for change echoed throughout downtown Austin on Saturday morning.
"The people here want access to medical cannabis, they went decriminalization, and that's what they are out here, in the rain, to come and advocate for," Jax Finkel, the executive director of Texas Norml, said.
More than 300 people, from across the state of Texas, were on hand including David Bass, a military veteran and school teacher.
Bass said he uses medical marijuana daily to help treat P.T.S.D. and other chronic symptoms and is looking forward to the day that he won't be looked at like a criminal for doing so.
"I break one law in the state of Texas and that law is the law against me purchasing and using marijuana as medicine." Bass said, "I want to be able to go to a dispensary licensed and inspected by the state of texas and regulated by the state of Texas to purchase my medical marijuana."
Becca Harmon and her family were forced to move from Texas to Colorado twice so they could get treatment for their daughter, Jilli, who suffers from seizures and other conditions. Conditions that Harmon said have been helped with the use of medical marijuana.
"Not if but when we see legalization in Texas, it will change our lives and thousands of other patients lives because for Jilli it was amazing. She had over 80% seizure control so if we had access to her medicine legally in Texas it would be a wonderful freedom and we are really excited for that day," she said.
A day that rain and resistance won't stop come 2017.
"They marched despite rain, thunder, and lightning, they marched blocks from city hall to come here and to say listen legislators we are here and we want this law changed. So if people are willing to come out in the torrential thunderstorm I think that they are going to come out during during the legislative session as well."
In 2015, the state did pass Senate Bill 339, known as the Compassionate Use Program. The program allows licensed businesses to provide qualifying patients access to low-THC cannabis for treatments. However Norml said the bill is too restrictive.
Organizers said that 70,000 Texans are arrested for simple possession every year that includes people who buy marijuana to treat a number of ailments such as P.T.S.D. and chronic pain.