With battering rams and flash-bang grenades, SWAT teams fuel the risk
of violence as they forcibly enter suspects' homes. Five months and 85
miles apart, two cases took starkly divergent legal paths.
SOMERVILLE, Tex. - Joshua Aaron Hall had been a resident of the
Burleson County Jail for about a week when he requested a meeting with
Gene Hermes, the sheriff's investigator who had locked him up for
violating probation. The stocky lawman arrived in the featureless
interview room on the morning of Dec. 13, 2013, placed his soda cup on
the table and apologized for not getting there sooner. He asked in his
gravelly drawl if they would be talking about Mr. Hall's own case.
[continues 6445 words]
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
[continues 184 words]
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.
[continues 424 words]
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
[continues 175 words]
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.
[continues 119 words]
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.
[continues 1675 words]
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
[continues 1340 words]
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
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.
[continues 415 words]
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
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.
[continues 72 words]
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.
[continues 105 words]
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
[continues 597 words]
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.
[continues 581 words]
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.
[continues 1507 words]
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.
[continues 416 words]
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.
[continues 1796 words]
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.
[continues 541 words]
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
[continues 640 words]
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.
[continues 1101 words]
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?"
[continues 161 words]
Re: =93Texas tops in use of civil asset forfeiture
=AD And it's likely to get worse, Audrey Redford says,=94 Monday
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.
[continues 108 words]
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.
[continues 503 words]
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
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.
[continues 615 words]
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.
[continues 4074 words]
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.
[continues 660 words]
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.
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."
[continues 55 words]
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.
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.
[continues 541 words]
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.
[continues 286 words]
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.
[continues 1535 words]
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.
[continues 824 words]
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.
[continues 419 words]
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:
[continues 526 words]
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
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.
[continues 445 words]
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.
[continues 580 words]
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.
[continues 526 words]
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.
[continues 91 words]
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.
[continues 399 words]
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.
[continues 256 words]
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]
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]
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
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]
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]
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]
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
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
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]
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]
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
[continues 146 words]