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Why a Conservative Christian Group Joined Austin Marijuana Marchers
A conservative Christian organization is calling for legalized medicinal marijuana as a treatment for autism.

Marijuana advocates will march on the Texas Capitol Saturday as part of the annual Worldwide Marijuana March. In Austin, the marchers will include members of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA), a newly-founded organization which describes itself as a conservative Christian group calling for the legalization of medicinal marijuana use in Texas.

“We are working now with Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. They’re a group out of Harris County. They are drafting a bill,"  says MAMMA co-founder and executive director Thalia Michelle. "We believe that Marijuana Policy Project will also be introducing a medicinal cannabis bill."

MAMMA members also plan to meet with pastors of their churches and have other parents of children with special needs do the same at their places of worship.

“We believe that when people are educated and understand what we’re taking about here, that this is a God-made, God-given plant that has healing properties," Michelle said. "We believe that once the clergy and the religious leaders of the state understand what we’re talking about that they will come behind us and support us in this."

Two proposals to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Texas failed in the last legislative session in 2013. One bill, HB 184, would have made possession of less than an ounce a Class C Misdemeanor, like a traffic ticket. The other bill, HB 594, would have made medical need a valid defense in marijuana possession cases.

While neither passed, they both received committee hearings, which marijuana advocates considered a step forward. 

Trey Shaar is an All Things Considered producer, reporter and host. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @treyshaar.
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