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1 US TX: Obama Commutes Prison Sentence Of California HealthcareThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Author:Doyle, Michael Area:Texas Lines:50 Added:01/19/2017

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.

In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the 36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.

He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as Escalon.

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2 US TX: Pew Research Center Poll Finds Two-thirds Of Cops ThinkThu, 12 Jan 2017
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Author:Ingraham, Christopher Area:Texas Lines:72 Added:01/12/2017

A Pew Research Center survey of nearly 8,000 police officers finds that more than two-thirds of them say that marijuana use should be legal for either personal or medical use.

The nationally representative survey of law enforcement, one of the largest of its kind, found that 32 percent of police officers said marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while 37 percent said it should be legal for medical use only. Another 30 percent said that marijuana should not be legal at all.

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3 US TX: Arlington Officer Allows Teen To Do Pushups Instead Of JailWed, 04 Jan 2017
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:43 Added:01/04/2017

An Arlington police officer is popular on social media Thursday because of a video that shows he gave a teenager caught smoking marijuana in a movie theater parking lot an unorthodox alternative to being arrested: pushups.

Officer Eric Ball was working off-duty Monday night at the theater in Arlington when someone told him that a teenager was smoking marijuana outside, WFAA-TV reported. Ball went outside to find the teen finishing a cigarette and discarding it, and Ball smelled marijuana when he approached him.

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4US TX: DEA Maps Show Where Mexican Drug Cartels Hold Sway In TexasWed, 04 Jan 2017
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Perera, John-Henry Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:01/04/2017

An unclassified document from the Drug Enforcement Agency shows the areas of influence generated by Mexico's major criminal organizations.

The "intelligence report," dated July 2015, includes three maps that show the various DEA offices around the country and the cartel-related cases they deal with; potential markets that drug cartels will exploit due to population density; and heroin deaths by state.

In Texas, the many offices appear to have their time spent dealing with cases involving the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juarez, the Knights Templar, Beltran-Levya, Jalisco and the Zetas.

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5US TX: Feds: Colorado's New Pot Laws A Haven For Texas Drug RunnersSun, 25 Sep 2016
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Schiller, Dane Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/29/2016

Texas traffickers hide in plain sight in Colorado with its lax pot laws

Tien Nguyen, 35, is charged in Smith County, Texas with money laundering after allegedly being stopped with $71,900 in cash in a rental car on Interstate 20. Handout

Tien Nguyen, 35, is charged in Smith County, Texas with money...

Three packages were mailed one after another, each shipped from the same Colorado post office to the same Houston business in the name of the same fictitious person.

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6US TX: Pushing Ahead On Medical CannabisMon, 15 Aug 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Farmer, Liz Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:08/15/2016

Businessman Has N. Texas Town in Sights for Facility to Produce Oil to Treat Epilepsy

GUNTER - A cotton gin that sat empty for decades in this small North Texas town could be filled next year with the first cannabis plants legally grown in the state. Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer Patrick Moran, president and co-founder of the Texas Cannabis Industry Association, aims to plant Texas' first legal cannabis plants in Gunter. A statute enacted last year paves the way for cultivation of non-psychoactive cannabis to produce CBD oil for treating people with severe epilepsy.

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7 US TX: PUB LTE: Marijuana, Casino GamingFri, 29 Jul 2016
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Gratzer, G. Area:Texas Lines:27 Added:07/29/2016

Regarding "Dangerous drugs" (Page A14, Thursday), the editorial takes note of illogical marijuana laws in our state, while those laws sidestep kush, which is actually a more dangerous substance. Four states have already legalized the use of marijuana, and all is well.

Texas needs to move forward on this issue as well as the issue of casino gambling. Other states are enjoying the freedoms related to both of these issues, which should be individual choices.

We are stuck in an outdated mode, based on falsehoods and overly conservative and religious mores. We need to focus our laws and enforcement efforts on things that really matter.

G. Gratzer, Sargent

[end]

8 US TX: Study: Medical Marijuana Cuts Medicare SpendingSun, 24 Jul 2016
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX) Author:Eaton, Tim Area:Texas Lines:82 Added:07/24/2016

Legislators who want to expand the use of medical marijuana in Texas - - as well as the green-seeking entrepreneurs who could benefit financially from more state-approved, pot-derived treatments for what ails Texans - might be able to lean on a new study to bolster their argument when the Legislature convenes in January.

State senators and Texas House members undoubtedly will be looking for ways to save money next session, especially since the price of oil has dropped into an abyss, taking with it much of the state's oil-based tax revenue. They'll cut programs. They always do. But they also will search for savings.

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9US TX: Woman Settles Suit Over Cavity Search At BorderFri, 22 Jul 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:07/23/2016

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will pay $475,000 to a New Mexico woman who accused agents in Texas of forcing her to undergo illegal body-cavity probes.

The woman was at an El Paso port of entry when a drug-sniffing dog jumped on her, according to court filings.

The American Civil Liberties Union in Texas and New Mexico announced the settlement Thursday. Customs and Border Protection officers will also be required to undergo additional training.

A lawsuit filed in 2013 said the woman - a 54-year-old U.S. citizen referred to only as Jane Doe - was "brutally" searched by customs agents in December 2012.

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10 US TX: LTE: Take Hard Steps Toward ChangeMon, 18 Jul 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Bogart, Betty Area:Texas Lines:38 Added:07/18/2016

Messages of peace and love are briefly comforting after tragedies like those our country and city have recently experienced. But society needs to face harsh realities, beginning with stemming drug use.

Through people I know well, I've seen marijuana become a gateway drug for some and a substance that can change personalities over many years. Legalizing recreational marijuana usage is absurd since most ingest it for one reason: to alter mood/ thoughts. That doesn't put anyone in a good mind-set to interact with law officers, ever.

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11US TX: City Says Pot Reform Fest Shut Down Over PermitsTue, 12 Jul 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Brumfield, Loyd Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:07/12/2016

Group Hosting 'Lake and Bake' Event Questions Need to Close the Entire Park

The shutting down of an event hosted by marijuana legalization advocates Sunday at Lake Grapevine had nothing to do with the group's beliefs, Grapevine city officials said.

The third annual Lake and Bake was shut down because DFW NORML didn't acquire a special events permit needed to host a gathering of that size, Grapevine Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Mitchell said.

"Who they are had no bearing on why the event was closed off. They could be pushing beef jerky for all I know," Mitchell said. "It has nothing to do with who they are or what they represent. None of that is relevant."

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12US TX: Column: Softer Marijuana Laws Are 'sensible'?Wed, 06 Jul 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Davis, Mark Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:07/06/2016

Mark Davis: Those Pushing for This Don't Know What It Does to Neighborhoods

Looks like this is my year for congratulating the Dallas City Council, although I do not pretend that the horseshoe is bending toward my worldview.

First they found a way to reject the absurdity that there was a First Amendment obligation to host a porn convention on city property. Now, at least for the moment, they are resisting widespread urgings to loosen marijuana laws.

As some state-level experiments plod forward with outright pot legalization, the Dallas issue involved ratcheting pot-possession penalties down from a jailable offense to a mere ticket.

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13 US TX: Texas May Be Ready to Expand Medical Use of MarijuanaSun, 19 Jun 2016
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX) Author:Eaton, Tim Area:Texas Lines:225 Added:06/19/2016

Within GOP, Sentiment Appears to Be Growing to Allow More Remedies.

Is Texas ready to embrace expanding medical treatments from marijuana?

Some state elected officials - along with some eager entrepreneurs - would like to see more allowable uses of the controversial plant when the 2017 legislative session comes around.

Last session, many Capitol observers were stunned when both chambers passedSenate Bill 339 and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law. The law - which was authored by now-departing state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, and sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth - allows patients who suffer from a rare form of epilepsy to be treated legally with cannabidiol, or CBD as it is better known.

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14 US TX: Justices: Obtaining Evidence Illegally Doesn't BarSat, 11 Jun 2016
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX) Author:Lindell, Chuck Area:Texas Lines:79 Added:06/12/2016

High Court: Civil-Asset Forfeiture Is Not Subject to Criminal Court Rules.

Law enforcement can seize private property that was used in the commission of a crime, even if evidence of wrongdoing was illegally obtained by police, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Because the process of seizing property takes place in civil court, property owners aren't protected by criminal court rules that call for evidence to be tossed out if it was obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure, the unanimous court ruling said.

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15US TX: An Old Cotton Gin Soon Could Help Produce LegalMon, 06 Jun 2016
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:O'Hare, Peggy Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:06/06/2016

Ceo Expects Texas to Be Major Center for a Strain of Cannabis That Can Ease Epilepsy Without Getting Patients High

About 60 miles north of Dallas, amid green fields in the town of Gunter, population 1,486, Texas Cannabis CEO Patrick Moran has optioned to buy a former cotton gin, where he plans to grow the Cannabis sativa plant, known more commonly as marijuana.

The businessman and attorney is positioning himself at the forefront of what he estimates will be a $900 million a year industry in Texas - - the recently legalized market for treating intractable epilepsy with a strain of marijuana that eases seizures without getting patients high.

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16 US TX: Column: 'Opioid Epidemic' MythsWed, 25 May 2016
Source:Odessa American (TX) Author:Sullum, Jacob Area:Texas Lines:94 Added:05/28/2016

Last week, the House of Representatives approved what The New York Times described as "a mountain of bills addressing the nation's opioid abuse crisis." The 18 bills passed "by huge bipartisan margins."

A flurry of legislative activity like this usually materializes when the drug problem it targets is already receding. That seems to be the case with the so-called opioid epidemic, notwithstanding the fresh attention attracted by the recent death of Prince, which may have involved prescription painkillers.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nonmedical use of opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and hydrocodone peaked in 2012 and has since dropped below the rate in 2002. Although the recent decline in prescription painkiller use was accompanied by an increase in heroin use, total opioid use was still lower in 2014 than in 2012.

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17 US TX: OPED: Felon Disenfranchisement an Obstacle to DemocracyFri, 20 May 2016
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX) Author:Mauer, Marc Area:Texas Lines:102 Added:05/20/2016

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently restored the right to vote for 206,000 citizens in his state, many of whom had completed their sentences decades ago. One of them, Terry Garrett, had struggled with homelessness and drug addiction, receiving multiple felony convictions, before turning her life around. She's now sober, a grandmother, and helps people facing addiction. Told that she could now vote, she said, "Finally, someone sees past what we did."

As the 2016 presidential race heats up, it's clear that the outcome will affect the course of the nation for some time to come. Yet nearly 6 million Americans will not be at the polls this November. It's not that they don't care about the outcome of the election, but rather, they're prohibited from voting due to a current or previous felony conviction.

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18US TX: OPED: What's 'Medical' About Pot? It Varies by StateFri, 20 May 2016
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Leonard, Kenneth E. Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:05/20/2016

Forty-one states have legislation that permits medical marijuana in some form. However, the law in Texas is not considered functional because it requires a physician to prescribe marijuana. Since marijuana is illegal under federal law, doctors can't prescribe it. They can only recommend it to patients.

Louisiana's law had the same flaw, but the state's House of Representatives just voted on new legislation that should correct this problem.

In April, Pennsylvania became the latest state to pass medical marijuana legislation, which will take effect this month. And recently, Ohio's House of Representatives passed a plan to permit medical marijuana in the state.

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19US TX: Demonstrators March to Downtown San Antonio, DemandSun, 08 May 2016
Source:San Antonio Express-News (TX) Author:Kuz, Martin Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:05/08/2016

Some 100 people marched in San Antonio's second annual "marijuana march" to build support for grass-roots efforts to ease Texas marijuana laws and decriminalize pot use.

The event was hosted by the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Jesus Ramirez marched with a sign emblazoned with a cannabis plant and the words "Don't Fight. Make It Right. Legalize."

"I'm here because I think we need more compassion for people who are suffering," said Ramirez, 44, a former glazier who also uses cannabis to reduce pain from a neck injury that forced him to retire five years ago. "Marijuana helps people cope. Why would anyone be against that?"

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20 US TX: PUB LTE: Abolish Civil Asset ForfeitureSun, 01 May 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:48 Added:05/02/2016

Re: =93Texas tops in use of civil asset forfeiture =AD And it's likely to get worse, Audrey Redford says,=94 Monday Viewpoints.

Thanks to Redford for her excellent column and to The News for continuing to call attention to the most corrupting influence in law enforcement =AD civil asset forfeiture.

The injustice of police taking property without due process has not gone unnoticed.

Right on Crime, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Prison Fellowship, has given a series of seminars on the subject. It says civil forfeiture endangers individual rights and the integrity of law enforcement.

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21US TX: Texas Tops In Use Of Civil Asset ForfeitureMon, 25 Apr 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:04/27/2016

In just over a decade, Texas law enforcement collected more than half a billion dollars, $540.7 million, in cash and personal property from Texans suspected of breaking the law. Known as civil asset forfeiture, this legal practice leaves average Texans vulnerable to having their assets seized by police, no trial or proof of guilt necessary.

Texas is among the worst states in the nation for civil asset forfeiture abuse. The Institute for Justice's "Policing for Profit" report gave Texas a D+ and said the state leads the nation in average annual forfeiture proceeds, at roughly $41.6 million.

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22 US TX: OPED: Nixon's War on Drugs Built Today's RuinousMon, 25 Apr 2016
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX) Author:Hermosura, Lorna Area:Texas Lines:101 Added:04/25/2016

As we prepare to vote for the next president of the United States, it is important for voters to carefully consider the character of the candidates. Why? Because although a presidential term only lasts for four years, a president's policies and legacy can cause devastation for decades.

Case in point: President Richard Nixon and the "War on Drugs."

Nixon's drug policies that began in the 1970s seeped into our nation's education policy 20 years later; today it funnels hundreds of thousands of youths from schools into prison.

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23US TX: Deadly DealFri, 15 Apr 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Corchado, Alfredo Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:04/16/2016

Kingpin's Plea With U.S. Triggered Years of Bloodshed Reaching All the Way to Southlake Zetas Saw Gulf Cartel Leader As Traitor, Declared a War That Has Killed Thousands of People

A plea agreement between a Mexican drug kingpin and the U.S. government helped generate a violent split between two drug cartels that led to the deaths of thousands of people in Mexico and along the Texas border, a Dallas Morning News investigation has found.

A masked gunman fired multiple times at Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa with a 9 mm handgun through the passenger window of his Range Rover at Southlake Town Square in May 2013. Three Mexican citizens were arrested more than a year later and charged with stalking, and aiding and abetting in the hit.

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24US TX: OPED: Words Used As Weapons Cause Social DamageSat, 09 Apr 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Short, Robyn Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:04/10/2016

War on Drugs, for Example, Was an Assault on Black People, Robyn Short Says

Whoever said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" must have been on the receiving end of a very kind-speaking stick thrower. Words matter. Too often in American politics, words are used as weapons that can cause social damage that takes far longer to repair than any broken bone.

Democrats and Republicans both use language to dehumanize, vilify and separate the people of this nation. By doing so, they indirectly foster a culture that permits harmful actions against "the other," and even deems such action morally correct.

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25 US TX: PUB LTE: City Council Missed BoatSun, 03 Apr 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Dominguez, William Area:Texas Lines:31 Added:04/03/2016

If the Dallas City Council is unhappy with the recent crime spike, perhaps voting for the cite-and-release marijuana policy that failed last week could help keep officers on the streets working on eliminating violent crime.

In 2014, 700,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana law violations and 620,000 of those violations were possession. Why are we putting resources to arrest individuals for a crime that is nonviolent?

Dallas City Council had its chance to be proactive toward reducing violent crime by reducing the penalties for a nonviolent one. Now the council members who voted "nay" on the cite-and-release policy would rather blame Dallas Police Chief David Brown for an issue they could have helped solve.

William Dominguez,

Dallas/Lakewood

[end]

26 US TX: PUB LTE: Tough Love Can Add To SufferingSun, 27 Mar 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:40 Added:03/28/2016

Re: "Straight talk about heroin - We've got the epidemic all wrong, Maia Szalavitz says," March 20 Points.

All of the dangerous myths about heroin that Szalavitz points out are important. The drug war is built on lies and misconceptions. It is most important to discredit the myth that "Tough love is the only thing that works. Programs that distribute clean needles and overdose-reversal drugs prolong addiction."

Addition is most often an adaption to overwhelming trauma. The majority of injection drug users were abused as children. This can cause lifelong self-hatred. Even the man who started drug prohibition, Harry Anslinger, admitted it: Addicts often "grow up in homes that are not homes, with parents that are not parents, [so] they seek escape. Girl or boy, this is a familiar pattern."

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27US TX: Editorial: Dallas City Council Snuffs Out a Chance toSat, 26 Mar 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:03/27/2016

The Dallas City Council made a mistake in snuffing out Dallas County's cite-and-release pilot plan to ticket low-level marijuana possession offenders rather than haul them off to jail. As Police Chief David Brown once conceded - although he ultimately opposed the plan - the idea was "just so damn practical." It would reduce crowding in the Dallas County Jail and allow police to focus on more serious crimes, such as burglaries and assaults, and address concerns such as downtown panhandling. But council members waded into the weeds and failed to navigate issues of collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions and whether to give officers discretion to arrest some offenders. It's disappointing that they lacked creativity or the will to work through these questions.

We hope they' ll try again.

[end]

28US TX: Pot Citation Plan Goes Up In SmokeThu, 24 Mar 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Hallman, Tristan Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:03/25/2016

Misdemeanor marijuana possession will still mean jail time in Dallas. Misdemeanor marijuana possession will still mean jail time in Dallas after City Council members spurned a much-discussed plan to instead issue citations to those caught with small amounts of pot.

Council members on Wednesday got into the weeds of the proposed Dallas County pilot program and possible discrimination concerns before they rejected the so-called cite-and-release plan. Opposition from council member Sandy Greyson and Police Chief David Brown prevailed.

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29 US TX: Editorial: Treat Addiction As Disease, Not CrimeSun, 20 Mar 2016
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:66 Added:03/20/2016

Grapevine Police Join Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative

Nonprofit Organization Works With Local Police and Opioid Addicts

Treatment Centers Are Better Than Jail

We all learned about the effects of illegal drugs in health class, from TV and parents.

We've watched fictional drug addicts on anything from Orange is the New Black to Elementary.

We all know that drugs are bad, and drug dealers are even worse. We want both off the streets and away from kids.

In those worst-case scenarios, a teenager becomes addicted to drugs. He or she gets arrested for drug possession and then has a criminal record.

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30US TX: OPED: Straight Talk About HeroinSun, 20 Mar 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Szalavitz, Maia Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:03/20/2016

We've Got the Epidemic All Wrong, Maia Szalavitz Says

America's epidemic of heroin and prescription pain reliever addiction has become a major issue in the 2016 elections. It's worse than ever: Deaths from overdoses of opioids - the drug category that includes heroin and prescription analgesics such as Vicodin - reached a high in 2014, rising 14 percent in a single year.

But because drug policy has long been a political and cultural football, myths about opioid addiction abound. Here are some of the most dangerous myths, and how they do harm.

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31US TX: A New Road To RecoveryThu, 03 Mar 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Solis, Dianne Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:03/03/2016

City's Police Joining Efforts to Treat Addicts Instead of Jailing Them

GRAPEVINE - Imagine a drug user walking into a police station and handing over his drugs and paraphernalia. But instead of police putting the addict behind bars, the would-be criminal is taken to a treatment facility to get help - without any charges being filed.

That's the essence of a new nationwide initiative coming soon to at least one North Texas police department.

Grapevine officials, stung by some drug-related deaths in recent years, said Wednesday that they will soon begin participating in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, or PAARI. The program takes a more compassionate approach toward drug users by treating addiction as a disease rather than simply a crime.

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32US TX: No Grass At Cannabis Conference, But AttendeesSun, 28 Feb 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Ramirez, Marc Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:02/29/2016

Legalization's Coming, They Say, and So Are the Potential Opportunities

FORT WORTH - There was a day when you'd have been considered under the influence to think that Texas might ever legalize marijuana. Lawrence Jenkins/Special Contributor "the 'Green rush' is going to happen," said San Antonio lawyer Daniel Mehler, who stood out in a pot-leaf-patterned suit at the cannabis expo in Fort Worth.

But this weekend, an event dedicated to that very notion drifted into the Fort Worth Convention Center.

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33US TX: Column: Chief 's Offer to Addicts Is Saving Lives andSun, 14 Feb 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Burns, Scott Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:02/14/2016

GLOUCESTER, Mass. - Leonard Campanello leans forward. "There's no incentive or coercion that will stop an addict," he says. "This is the only long-term illness on the planet where if the disease presents itself, they kick you out" of treatment.

I met Campanello at the Sugar Magnolias breakfast place on Main Street in downtown Gloucester, where he told me about his amazing offer to drug addicts. It's an offer that will change drug treatment in America, reduce crime, decrease drug-related deaths, drop incarceration and destigmatize substance abuse while restoring the community role of the police. It will save lives and money at the same time. This is a sea change. Before you get the wrong idea, let me assure you that Campanello, the chief of police in this city of 28,000, isn't a reformer. He doesn't look like a reformer. He's a cop, a fact-and-evidence guy. He speaks without hyperbole in a boots-on-the-ground Boston accent. You can't listen to him without having a sense that he is absolutely right. So what was that amazing offer? Last year, on March 5, after a string of fatal overdoses in Gloucester, Campanello made this declaration on the department's Facebook page:

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34 US TX: Editorial: Stop Making A Misdemeanor A High CrimeTue, 09 Feb 2016
Source:Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:76 Added:02/09/2016

We anticipate an interesting discussion Tuesday when the City Council considers whether police should be allowed or encouraged to "cite and release" folks whose only apparent offense is possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana.

Our opinion: It's high time!

Sorry, we couldn't let that one pass. But don't confuse our partaking of the low-hanging fruit as a case of the munchies. It's a clear-eyed reality check.

Somebody besides the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) needs to say it: The police have more important things to do, the jail is an expensive, finite resource, and the worst, most dangerous thing about possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use is its illegality.

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35US TX: OPED: Just Say Yes To Ticketing Pot OffendersTue, 19 Jan 2016
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Kelly, William R. Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:01/19/2016

Citing and releasing those caught with small amounts is a good idea, William R. Kelly writes

As someone who studies the effectiveness of criminal justice policies, I rarely can applaud a specific policy in Texas. But I could do just that for a new pilot program taking shape in Dallas.

The Dallas City Council is considering a program of ticketing rather than arresting individuals caught in possession of 4 ounces or less of marijuana. The procedure, known as cite and release, involves the police issuing a ticket to the offender, much like the procedure used for traffic violations. The ticket is a promise to appear in court on a particular date and time.

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36US TX: Appeals Court To Hear Lawsuit Against DEAWed, 30 Dec 2015
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Schiller, Dane Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/30/2015

A federal appeals court has agreed to hear oral arguments in the case of a Texan suing the Drug Enforcement Administration for using his 18-wheeler without permission for a drug cartel sting that ended in Houston with an informant fatally shot while driving the truck.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, is scheduled to take the case in February.

Lawyers for Craig Patty are hoping the court will reverse a decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal that Patty should get nothing from the DEA for secretly using his truck, which was shot with bullets, including those that killed Lawrence Chapa, who was behind the wheel.

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37 US TX: PUB LTE: A Better Alternative?Fri, 25 Dec 2015
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:37 Added:12/26/2015

Re: "A Smarter Use of Time" Dallas should try citations over jail for pot," Dec.14 Editorials. According to FBI figures, national crime clearance rates in 2013 were abysmally low. In several cases in Dallas County in recent years, there were tragic consequences because officers did not respond quickly enough to calls.

Police officers lose several hours of availability while transporting and booking suspects for nonviolent crimes. Suspects spend an average of 10 days in jail at a cost of about $60 per day. Only three Texas counties have adopted the cite-and-summons option since 2007: Travis, Hays and Midland. In all three, authorities encourage officers to use it.

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38US TX: Editorial: A Smarter Use Of TimeMon, 14 Dec 2015
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/14/2015

Dallas Should Try Citations Over Jail for Pot

David Brown is Dallas' police chief and, as such, admits he has mixed feelings when the question is whether his officers should write citations instead of booking into jail those arrested for small amounts of marijuana. You can see how this might be.

The cop in Brown sees minor busts as one more tool to develop informants or just information that might lead to bigger busts. Every arrest is potential leverage over a suspect, even if it's just an ounce or two of weed.

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39 US TX: PUB LTE: Civil Asset Forfeiture Without a Conviction IsSun, 15 Nov 2015
Source:Victoria Advocate (TX) Author:Bankston, Carl Area:Texas Lines:60 Added:11/16/2015

Editor, the Advocate:

The Nov. 8 Advocate story about civil asset forfeiture is disturbing. Stephen Tyler is involved with the legalized theft of money, cars and other valuables owned by people who are only suspected of a crime but have not been convicted at trial.

I was taught in my high school civics classes that, in America, a basic tenent of justice is that a person is presumed innocent until proved guilty in a trial or he pleads guilty. This isn't happening with civil asset forfeiture. People are being punished by having their property confiscated by government without being convicted of a crime. Why? The answer is in the sixth paragraph: "District Attorney Stephen Tyler uses civil asset forfeiture to pad his budget." Tyler should wait until after he gets a conviction to confiscate property.

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40 US TX: Refugio Mayor Reported Arrested On Drug ChargesSun, 15 Nov 2015
Source:Victoria Advocate (TX) Author:Druzin, Rye Area:Texas Lines:35 Added:11/16/2015

The mayor of Refugio was arrested on multiple drug charges, Refugio County Sheriff Robert Bolcik said Saturday.

Bolcik said Mayor Joey Heard was arrested by the Refugio Police Department at 4:30 p.m. Friday on three charges: misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug and third-degree felony possession of a prohibited substance in a correctional facility. Heard was out on a $29,000 bond Saturday, according to Bolcik.

Refugio Police Chief Andy Lopez Jr. declined to comment on Heard's case beyond saying Heard had been arrested. Lopez said the case was part of a pending investigation.

[continues 65 words]

41 US TX: Baby Steps For Legalizing MarijuanaFri, 13 Nov 2015
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:62 Added:11/15/2015

Twenty Three States Allow Medicinal Use of Marijuana.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy launched a campaign Wednesday hoping to bring awareness to veterans' need for responsible marijuana use for service-related injuries.

The campaign, named "Operation Trapped," aims to "collect a single used prescription bottle from every state veteran who wants a safer alternative" and present the collection of bottles at a news conference on Veterans Day 2016 in Austin.

The coalition includes multiple chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and other groups.

[continues 268 words]

42 US TX: PUB LTE: A Good First StepSun, 01 Nov 2015
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:36 Added:11/02/2015

Re: "Wrong on Rights - Mexico deserves sanctions for appalling abuses," Thursday Editorials.

This editorial draws attention to a problem that should have been addressed long ago.

Congress passed the Merida Initiative in 2008 after lobbying by Bell Helicopter, Sikorsky Helicopter and the Mexican government, ostensibly to stop cocaine and heroin from reaching the U.S. border. Seven years later, no effect has been seen in price, purity or availability of cocaine and heroin in the United States.

The Mexican government has received more than a billion dollars mostly for transport helicopters, surveillance aircraft, nightvision scanners, secure communications equipment, forensics and polygraph equipment. Until now, the flow of money has not stopped regardless of the horrid human-rights abuses in Mexico that it facilitated.

The Merida Initiative is not only a waste of money, it undermines our credibility as a moral nation. The State Department withholding $5 million is a welcome first step.

Suzanne Wills, Dallas Drug Policy Forum of Texas

[end]

43 US TX: Slow Steps To FreedomFri, 16 Oct 2015
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Horwitz, Sari Area:Texas Lines:272 Added:10/17/2015

A Nonviolent Drug Offender Granted Clemency After 2 Decades Behind Bars Adjusts to Life on the Outside

DALLAS - The recently released federal prisoner sat down at his sister's dining room table. He pulled out a legal pad and began the letter he had been turning over in his mind for several months:

"Dear Mr. President, I am writing you today with the utmost gratitude to personally thank you for granting my petition for clemency on March 31, 2015. Your actions have given me a second chance to start living life normally again and mere words can't express how truly grateful I am for your making this moment possible. The Bible says, 'To whom much is given, much is required,' and I vow to make the most of this unique opportunity that I've been given."

[continues 2021 words]

44 US TX: Pot Smoking Granny Charged With State Jail FelonyFri, 02 Oct 2015
Source:Stephenville Empire-Tribune (TX) Author:Berge, Sara Vanden Area:Texas Lines:38 Added:10/05/2015

A 69-year-old woman charged with growing marijuana on her property in Stephenville for medical purposes was arrested Thursday by the Erath County Sheriff's Office.

Colleen McCool said deputies picked her up, booked her, then drove her home when it was over.

She was released on a personal recognizance bond, meaning she didn't have to post any money.

"We asked her to sign an affidavit saying she would not flee the area and would show up for her court date," Sheriff Tommy Bryant said.

[continues 82 words]

45 US TX: PUB LTE: More On Medical MarijuanaTue, 22 Sep 2015
Source:Stephenville Empire-Tribune (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:54 Added:09/27/2015

I commend Colleen McCool for her thoughtful, personal letter regarding medical marijuana (cannabis).

In thousands of years of documented use cannabis alone has never been shown to cause a serious illness or an overdose death. If cannabis were legal it would be the first treatment that should be tried for myriad medical conditions including but certainly not limited to pain, epilepsy, Crohn's disease, PTSD, nausea, multiple sclerosis and autism.

In a recent issue of National Geographic, Dr. Nolan Kane describes what will happen when scientists are finally allowed to study cannabis.

[continues 206 words]

46 US TX: PUB LTE: K2 Will Fade Away If Cannabis LegalizedSat, 26 Sep 2015
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX) Author:Warren, Steve Area:Texas Lines:34 Added:09/27/2015

Re: Sept. 19 article, "Synthetic High: New drug ban takes effect amid crisis afflicting city's underprivileged."

K2 is the Frankenstein spawn of the monumental failure that is the "war on drugs." Legalize cannabis and K2 fades away, as is now happening in both Colorado and Washington.

Comparing it to cannabis is akin to comparing a square of Hershey's to Ex-Lax. Similar look, somewhat similar taste - but entirely different things.

Do keep in mind: Cannabis is the oldest known medicinal herb and has been used recreationally since the beginning of human history. In all that time not one death has ever been attributed to it. Fact. Anyone who thinks otherwise should open the Google and type "medical marijuana" to begin an education. What you learn will enrage you. It is the most helpful plant on the face of the earth. Continued prohibition is sheer lunacy.

STEVE WARREN, SAN MARCOS

[end]

47 US TX: Chief Deputy: Chief Deputy: 'We Can't Pick and ChooseSun, 27 Sep 2015
Source:Stephenville Empire-Tribune (TX) Author:Berge, Sara Vanden Area:Texas Lines:43 Added:09/27/2015

Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said the raid on Colleen McCool's home on Sept. 17 was initiated by DPS, not the sheriff's office.

"DPS spotted it from a helicopter that was out doing narcotics surveillance," he said.

Bryant said McCool was not under investigation by the sheriff's office and not on their radar until they were contacted by DPS that marijuana plants were spotted growing on her property.

Chief Deputy Jason Upshaw said the deputies who went to her home had no idea she was a 69-year-old woman.

[continues 127 words]

48 US TX: Longtime Marijuana Advocate Talks About Her RecentSun, 27 Sep 2015
Source:Stephenville Empire-Tribune (TX) Author:Berge, Sara Vanden Area:Texas Lines:117 Added:09/27/2015

Colleen McCool is not what most people envision when they think of a pot user.

But at 69-years-old, McCool is just that.

She and her husband live separately on property they own in Stephenville, but what they do still share is a fondness for marijuana, which she says helps them cope with a variety of health issues, including depression.

"I lost a son and it really helped me deal with that post traumatic stress," she said. "It also helps with my knee and back problems. It elevates my mood and makes me not notice the pain as much."

[continues 609 words]

49 US TX: PUB LTE: Drug Immunity Laws Save LivesSun, 20 Sep 2015
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:45 Added:09/20/2015

Re: "More charged in A&M death -- 10 now facing drug charges following Frisco teen's overdose," Saturday Metro story.

Anton Gridnev, 19, of Frisco is the latest tragic, preventable drug overdose death to make the news.

College Station Medical Center received two calls from his fraternity house asking what to do when someone has overdosed. The caller asked the

medical center not to call the police because of "substances" at their location. By the time someone finally did, it was too late to save Gridne v.

[continues 146 words]

50 US TX: PUB LTE: Legalize the Real DrugsThu, 10 Sep 2015
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:43 Added:09/10/2015

Re: "Synthetic drugs set tragedy in motion," by James Ragland, Saturday Metro column.

Ragland makes several good points about synthetic drugs. These are powders of unknown origin and composition. Of course, they're dangerous and too often lethal. The best solution is blindingly obvious: Legalize the real things. Marijuana alone has never been shown to cause an overdose death. Estimates of lethal doses of LSD are more than 100 times a typical dose.

Since 1994, Switzerland has given injectable heroin to intractable addicts at clinics. There have been no drug-elated deaths among these addicts.

[continues 125 words]


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