Entrepreneur creates direct-to-consumer business ahead of marijuana decriminalization efforts

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The proof is evident that decriminalizing cannabis doesn't increase crime rates, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. It's a basis as to why there is a renewed push to decriminalize cannabis at the national level.

One entrepreneur is already coming up with a unique way to get cannabis directly to the customer.

RELATED: Texas lawmakers hope to expand medical marijuana programs this legislative session

It's not a taco truck. In fact, Jonathan Pina's concept for High Maintenance Edibles is not like any other mobile vendor you've likely seen.

"We partner with private companies, bars restaurants, parking lot owners and we show up at places around Houston and provide our products," Pina said.

His concept got a lift from Oil Well. A company that specializes in hemp based products legal in Texas and run by owner Colin Valencia. He said the tide is turning and more and more people accept legitimate uses for cannabis based products. The stigma is slowly disappearing.

"People think that everyone just wants to get high and it's about giggling and things like that, and there's nothing wrong with that," said Oil Well CBD's Colin Valencia. "But that's a different version of therapy, and people are looking for things to help them with real pain. Pain comes in a lot of different forms."

It's getting a step closer to both decriminalization and legalization. While Texas may be far from legal recreational use, Congress may make its own move.

SEE ALSO: Texas' medical marijuana program is one of the most restrictive in the country

This week, Schumer and Senators Corey Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon announced forthcoming legislation on Capitol Hill.
"When states decriminalized or legalized, all the horrible stories that people said crime rates would go up, people's drug use would go up, never materialzed," Schumer said.

The three of them cited the failed war on drugs, that veterans and people of color are disproportionately punished for use with excessive fines or jail time. There are already 15 states that have passed ballot measures or have laws allowing recreational use.

"If people want to use it and it doesn't do harm, just like Oregon showed, let them do it," Schumer said.

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While Texas may be far from legal recreational use, Congress may make its own move. This week, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer and Senators Corey Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon announced forthcoming legislation on Capitol Hill.



For those in the business and on its forefront in Texas, entrepreneurs like Pina believe it's long overdue. But in Austin, they are not there yet.

Despite loosening restrictions and a spate of bills this session, full legalization is not as likely as it might be in Washington.

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