Pubdate: Fri, 31 Jul 2009
Source: Gadsden Times, The (AL)
Copyright: 2009 The Gadsden Times
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Allegations Fly After Discovery Of Drug In State House

When the discovery of two pounds of pot in the Alabama State House 
essentially goes unreported for three years the temptation to do 
stoner jokes is strong. Think of the movie titles you could come up 
with: "Dude, Where's my Bill?" might explain some of the inaction 
that's taken place in the Legislature the past couple of sessions.

"Up in Smoke" could be a documentary about the state's Prepaid 
Affordable College Tuition program.

"Senator and Representative go to White Castle" is another. Of 
course, that trip would be lobbyist's treat.

But this is not "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." Legislators, we hope, 
are not running around continually stoned as was Ridgemont's Jeff 
Spicoli. When two pounds of marijuana are found in a State House 
office it's serious. When the discovery essentially goes unreported 
for three years, it's more serious. Then, when accusations of 
coverups and retribution get tossed around, it becomes really serious.

Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, and House Clerk Greg Pappas are at 
odds over the issue. Holmes thinks its possible that drug sales to 
high-level people is being covered up. Pappas says Holmes doesn't 
like the way he runs the clerk's office and is out to get him.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation did look into the issue in 
December 2006 and didn't file charges, saying there was not enough 
evidence. House security tapes showed the backpack belonged to 
maintenance employee Lorenzo Hooks. He claimed the backpack, not the 
pot. He worked in the House until 2008 when he was suspended in 
relation to a shooting. He was not charged. Hooks had been promised 
his job back, but Holmes gave the council photos from the 2006 
incident in an effort to stop that. Now, Hooks is jailed on a 
separate cocaine charge.

Pappas is right that he shouldn't have to go to the Legislative 
Council with every personnel issue, but surely the discovery of two 
pounds of pot can't be considered routine. If it is, then the 
problems are more serious than can be imagined. At the very least, 
Pappas should have informed the council about the discovery and 
subsequent ABI investigation.

Rep. Blaine Galliher, R-Rainbow City, is a member of the Legislative 
Council. He wants to know more about the incident and has contacted 
council chairman Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham. They'll meet on the 
issue if a special session is called. Perhaps more details will come 
out as the story progresses but voters, who already have reasons to 
doubt the way business is done in Montgomery, will surely have more 
questions about why this incident wasn't made public a long time ago.
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