Pubdate: Sat, 28 Jun 2014
Source: Waco Tribune-Herald (TX)
Copyright: 2014 Waco-Tribune Herald
Author: Clifford Deuvall
Note: Candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, District 56, 
Clifford "Clif" Deuvall is a decorated disabled Vietnam War veteran, 
former educator and multi-generational Texan. (Andrew Devalt was at 
the Alamo.) He was Waco ISD Teacher of the Year, 2001-2002 while at 
A.J. Moore Academy; 2002 Waco Foundation "Outstanding Educator" award 
winner; and received an award as "Teacher of the Year, 2001-2002, 
A.J. Moore Academy" from the Texas Senate. He lives in Waco.
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


As a former educational professional, I've witnessed the negative 
social impacts and negative opportunity costs of cannabis 
prohibition. I observed these negative impacts while working with 
inner city youth; I also took note that these effects existed in my 
own suburban neighborhood. The world is our backyard. I began to 
observe how easy it was for teens to access cannabis on the illicit 
market and how many are left to endure life-altering criminal 
convictions. I examined the constant draining of tax dollars, all the 
while watching the expansion of violent criminal cartels.

Whether one is or isn't a cannabis consumer, the effects are the 
same. To summarize the problem, I, along with many other 
professionals, conclude that such prohibition is a dismal failure.

It has become an albatross around the neck of the American people and 
is in need of removal.

Some Texans say, "We don't need to become another California." My 
response: Correct. Texas must create a more effective legislative 
approach than California. Many state-controlled medical and legal 
cannabis programs are doing well and are tightly organized, creating 
a controlled environment in which youth are exempt from access.

What a novel idea - the same as what was accomplished with the 21st 
Amendment abolishing alcohol prohibition. Granted, there's not going 
to be the perfect law; our youth still gain access to alcohol and 
tobacco with strictly enforced laws in place.

One thing an adolescent doesn't have to worry about with a 
black-market dealer: drug dealers don't check I.D.

Our laws need to be reformed, vanquishing those which result in the 
incarceration of individuals who choose cannabis as an alternative to 
alcohol and tobacco.

We must ensure that resources are available to identify and prosecute 
those individuals who truly prey upon society, displaying no regard 
for the damage they inflict on those they victimize. Texas' 
prohibition law was written arbitrarily and capriciously, with 
discriminatory overtones, and is in dire need of reform.

We need look no further than Colorado as an example of this 
long-overdue approach to individual freedom.

The issue of cannabis for medical and recreational use has taken root 
and is growing across America. Despite a lot of hoopla from opponents 
of reform, crime is actually down since reform has been implemented, 
according to recent data from the Denver Police Department. Also, 
according to national data in states where cannabis laws control the 
cultivation, distribution and sales of cannabis, teen use has flattened.

Either the education and open dialogue is working or teens are 
becoming better researchers than our legislative officials.

Although Texas is trending with the national average to end the "War 
on Drugs" - 58 percent, according to Gallup - prohibition continues 
to place an unnecessary burden on Texans and our respective 
communities. Our legislative representatives have been given many 
opportunities to correct the issue of prohibition, only to remain 
deaf to the will and needs of their constituency. This inaction on 
their part is an unacceptable betrayal of the trust of the people 
they have sworn to serve. This is why it is so important that we 
continue to keep building on the momentum needed to make reform a reality.

Become involved; make an attempt at a dialogue with your 
representatives, register and vote; and send the message that Texans 
are tired of prohibition and are ready for relegalization.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom