Steve Nolin, the president of the Houston Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), wrote in the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy blog in the Houston Chronicle that he is upbeat that marijuana legalization is coming to Texas. He predicts that in 2015, some form of medicinal marijuana law will pass in the Texas legislature. By 2017, marijuana will be regulated in the Lone Star State much as alcohol is.

There is some dispute over that last prediction, with some analysts picking later dates and at least one predicting that it won’t happen any time soon in Texas. In fact a group of Texas sheriffs have released a report, citing what they say is data from Colorado, where recreational pot is legal, advising against any move to legalize marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal marijuana is already enjoying wide spread acceptance, with as many as 65 percent of respondents of a recent poll take in Houston favoring its legalization. A possibility that the use of cannabis derived oil, which does not have any of the psychoactive properties of pot, but does have some benefit in calming seizures, will be legalized.

The key to legalizing marijuana in Texas, according to Nolin, is to not say that it is being legalized. Legalization brings forth images of pot heads running wild in the grip of reefer madness in the imagination of opponents. Instead, the bill should be about “regulating” marijuana. Regulation sounds safe, more in line with the law and order culture in Texas. Law enforcement already knows how to regulate things like alcohol, so moving pot from a black market to a regulated market should not be very hard.