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Ag Commissioner Sid Miller shows cannabis support in strongest example yet

If there’s a possible award for Most Texan Man to Ever Exist, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller would likely beat out The Texas Hammer Jim Adler to receive the award.

An eighth generation Texan and farmer, Miller won countless awards from the Calf Roping Association. Has more familiarity with rural farming lands of Texas than arguably any other elected official in the Lone Star State. Always rocking a crisp cowboy hat at almost all times throughout his two decades in Texas politics, Miller knows the state he’s representing and does it proudly. Ever since taking office back in the more tranquil days of early 2015 and especially more in recent years, Miller has voiced his growing and now super strong support for cannabis expansion in Texas. 

sid miller texas ag commissioner on medical cannabis
Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller, always donning the signature cowboy hat.

Politicians notoriously flip flop on issues more than the weather changes in Texas. But Miller has stayed consistent for several years on his evolving views on the cannabis/hemp plant and its many helpful qualities, both medicinally and agriculturally.          

Although last week, Miller may have made his strongest statement in support of medical cannabis yet. In an editorial titled “Standing Up for Compassionate Use” directly from the Agriculture Commissioner and posted on the Department of Agriculture’s website, Miller explained everything from the critical failures and misinformation of cannabis prohibition, to how expansive Texas hemp already is, to why Texans must come together on the subject of medical cannabis for the sake of our state’s medical health.

Sadly, the roots of this came from a history of racism, classism, and a large central government with an authoritarian desire to control others. It is as anti-American in its origins as could be imaginable”.

Sid Miller, Texas Agriculture Commissioner

While he’s yet to voice his support for a fully recreational system on par with Colorado and California, Miller has stressed his support for cannabis expansion for legitimate medical uses. And expanding the industrial hemp industry that became federally accepted in 2018. In multiple interviews across years, Miller continued to comment on how he supported these expansion measures and fully believed that it could help struggling Texans. 

Cannarock 2022

“I certainly support the medical use.” said Miller in a 2019 interview. “If we can help somebody and improve their quality of life and health, I certainly want to support that. But I draw the line at recreational use.” 

In September 2020, Miller took an extensive tour of the Austin-based facility of Compassionate Cultivation, one of the few TCUP-licensed cultivators in Texas. While there, Miller frequently commented on how Texas’ painfully limited medical cannabis program should be expanded. 

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“I would certainly expand medical marijuana. If it’ll help somebody, I’m for it,” Miller said. “Whatever it is. I mean, a toothache, I don’t care. If it’s a cure, if it [alleviates] pain, we should be able to use that.”

Commissioner Miller has also visited multiple Texas-based hemp farms himself across the state, such as Alamo Remedy’s farm around late 2020 and met with many hemp farmers as well as advocates and those aspiring hemp business owners. Even ensuring to meet with agriculture-studying Texans who aren’t even of legal voting age yet, Miller also spoke at a meeting of a Future Farmers of America chapter in Abilene ISD about the usefulness and multi-faceted practicality of cultivating industrial hemp. 

sid miller speaking to abilene ffa students in 2019
Commissioner Miller speaking to Abilene FFA Students in 2019.

As Texas Agriculture Commissioner, I am responsible for the licensing of more than 850 entities that currently grow, handle, sample or process hemp in Texas.” Miller started the most recent statement. 

In a free society, the government should only make something illegal for a powerful reason or set of facts. The freedom of the people to make their own choices and decisions is a fundamental principle of a true democracy.” he continued, a sentiment often stated when discussing other medical-related topics such as vaccinations. 

Read more about TCUP (Texas Compassionate Use Program)

Miller then clearly stated a well known truth about how dangerous and harmful the prohibition of cannabis has objectively been for several governmental and socio-economic reasons. Stating an undeniable point not mentioned nearly enough by other seasoned politicians as otherwise deeply conservative as the current Agriculture Commissioner. Not only that, but Miller also indirectly addresses the horrors committed by morally corrupt bureaucrats such as Bureau of Narcotics Director Harry Anslinger, the architect of cannabis prohibition that hilariously now has multiple cannabis strains named after him.  

“The history of cannabis prohibition reflects the failed alcohol prohibition of the 1920’s. Complete with gangs, corruption, and widespread violence against the lives and liberties of American citizens.

As I look back, I believe that cannabis prohibition came from a place of fear, not from medical science or the analysis of social harm. Sadly, the roots of this came from a history of racism, classism, and a large central government with an authoritarian desire to control others. It is as anti-American in its origins as could be imaginable”.

Incarceration statistics based on race.

Furthermore, Miller calls for an entire end to the large-scale failure that is the decades-long federal cannabis prohibition and the many federal roadblocks and issues that come with medical cannabis use; the many possible penalties that cannabis-using veterans could face from the Veterans’ Administration being a prime example. 

An even more powerful statement that a growing number of conservatives have begun to speak about over the years, most recently California Congressman Tom McClintock.

Today, in the 21st century, this must end.” Miller stressed. “We must start with a new chapter and a new attitude about the use of cannabis, especially when it comes to its potential medicinal benefits.

Learn how to become a medical cannabis patient in Texas

Miller continued by acknowledging how widespread medical cannabis legalization has become across the states, with predominantly red states such as Oklahoma and Florida legalizing for medical use despite decades of a majority conservative leadership. 

Beyond that, eighteen states, including conservative western states like Arizona, Montana, and Alaska, have legalized commercial cannabis sales to ALL adults.” 

Surely a surprise when they voted to legalize during the 2020 election season, Montana has since made $178 million in total retail sales thus far in their first year of recreational sales while Arizona generated $308 million in retail sales in their first year of adult-use. Besides the ethical compassion behind why Miller believes medical cannabis should be expanded, one does wonder if the strongly conservative and agriculturally business-minded Commissioner also sees the economic benefits of a Texas-sized expansion of medical cannabis in the Lone Star State.

Arizona sales statistics as of October 2021.

Although if Sid does envision economic benefits of medical cannabis, he still holds on to hesitancy about fully recreational cannabis in Texas. Even still, he assures that he’s witnessed the potential medical value of cannabis firsthand.

While I am not sure that Texas is ready to go that far,” Miller shared, “I have seen firsthand the value of cannabis as medicine to so many Texans.

If Texas does eventually legalize adult-use, Miller sees the already legal states as a blueprint and the models for the strengths and weaknesses of legal cannabis. 

Those states that have gone before Texas are providing real world data and research about what they are doing right and what can be improved. But, the roots for good Texas policy on cannabis have already been planted.”     

Miller then made a series of promises as both Agriculture Commissioner and someone with considerable sway in the Texas government, promises that could be life-changing on multiple fronts for Texans. 

Read more about the smokable hemp ban in Texas

I worked diligently to bring hemp farming to Texas and supported the development of products such as hemp oil for medical use,” Miller wrote, mentioning the several instances when he publicly advocated for hemp’s cultivation in Texas.

These products are making a difference in the lives of many where other medicines have failed.

Then, the rodeo champion turned Agriculture Commissioner made his most ambitious promise yet, one that hopefully materializes against the Texas Legislature’s sometimes almost comically dysfunctional gridlock. 

texas capitol building
Texas’ gorgeous Capitol Building, where the Legislature meets only every two years to discuss hundreds of bills.

“It is my goal next year to expand access to the compassionate use of cannabis products in Texas so that every Texan with a medical need has access to these medicines. When four out of five Texans support compassionate use, we need to have state law and state policy reflect that desire. I will urge our state legislature and our Governor to make that a top priority in the upcoming legislative session.”

Sid concluded his strongly worded editorial with a legislative call to action. One that surely will result in him receiving a few angry emails from the far more prohibitionist Lieutenant Governor. 

Read more about Delta-8 in Texas

“It is time for all of us, including the Governor, members of the Texas Legislature and others to come together and set aside our political differences to have an honest conversation about cannabis: where we have been, where we are going and what role the government should properly play.

We owe it to our fellow Texans, especially those who are suffering, to lead or just get out of the way if we cannot formulate effective cannabis policy for Texas.”

Although his skepticism about full adult-use legalization in Texas remains, this editorial cementsa few facts. It cements the fact that Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is fully persuaded on cannabis’ medical potential for suffering Texans. And persuaded about its opportunities for the many farmers across this vast state that he’s served since 2015. Given the strong prohibitionist nature of nearly the rest of Governor Abbott’s Cabinet, Miller’s powerful voice in Texas politics could be a driving force in persuading even more skeptical Republicans to support cannabis reform measures in the state.   

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