AUSTIN — On a typical night, Flamingo Cantina is packed with patrons seeking out its “good vibes music.” But on the unusually quiet Wednesday after New Year’s Eve, as the buzzed frat boys and trashed tourists who flock to Austin’s Sixth Street take a sabbatical from the sauce, this Rastafarian watering hole hosted a wholly different crowd. “We’re going to be talking about some pretty cool stuff,” Jax Finkel tells the dozen or so people who’ve taken their seats inside the empty bar. “I’m going to kick off the night talking about the Farm Bill.” Red, yellow and green streamers float lazily overhead, swaying in time to beats from reggae legends like Yellowman and Steel Pulse. Oversize flamingos donned with plastic leis lend the venue that displaced island feel endemic to inland America’s reggae bars. On a small stage, Finkel whips through statutes and statistics, providing a primer on big changes Congress recently made to national hemp production rules. The tide of public opinion is shifting, with polls showing a majority of Americans supporting easing marijuana restrictions, and even conservatives are jumping on the bandwagon. Now, Finkel says, new pot laws could be coming to Texas. What new marijuana laws might pass in Texas this year?
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