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1US TX: A Young Life Nearly LostSun, 30 Dec 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Pantazi, Andrew Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/30/2012

Student's Addiction Came Early; Escape Almost Elusive

In a cramped bathroom stall at Edward Cary Middle School, Mariela and her crew passed around a binder and a school badge to divide the lines of powder. Jeff Lautenberger/staff Photographer Mariela, who has shared her experiences on television, has replaced drugs with education. She is pursuing an associate of applied science degree at Eastfield College in Mesquite in hopes of becoming a substance abuse counselor. She expects to graduate in May.

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2US TX: Trooper Suspended Over Search ComplaintThu, 20 Dec 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Tsiaperas, Tasha Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/20/2012

A state trooper criticized for conducting body cavity searches of two Irving women during a traffic stop has been placed on paid suspension.

The two women have filed a federal lawsuit against trooper Kelley Helleson and another trooper, as well as the head of the state Department of Public Safety.

The lawsuit accuses Helleson of using her fingers to conduct cavity searches - using the same latex gloves - on both women in July on State Highway 161.

The women were searched for illegal drugs after the other trooper stopped them for throwing cigarette butts out of their car. No drugs were found.

The Dallas County district attorney's public integrity division is investigating the case, which will go before a grand jury in January.

Helleson will remain suspended during the investigation, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said.


3 US TX: Column: Jobs - And How To Avoid ThemSun, 16 Dec 2012
Source:Odessa American (TX) Author:Hart, Ron Area:Texas Lines:98 Added:12/17/2012

Elections have consequences. Mitt Romney was poised to be President of the United States. He lost the election and ended up on the Marriott hotel chain's Board of Directors. He went from nearly being the next leader of the free world to trying to keep hotel guests from stealing from their hotel room mini-bars.

Overlooked in the long race for president (won, as most marathons are, by a Kenyan) were some state votes on social issues.

Washington State was the first to legalize the possession of marijuana without a doctor's prescription; Colorado followed this week. In a related story, Twinkies maker Hostess quickly emerged from bankruptcy.

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4 US TX: Column: Crashing Federal Hypocrisy On PotFri, 14 Dec 2012
Source:Palestine Herald Press (TX) Author:Harrop, Froma Area:Texas Lines:84 Added:12/15/2012

Ah, the great American West, where man can generally breathe free and also inhale -- woman, too. Thank you, thank you, voters in Colorado and Washington state, for legalizing marijuana. But will Washington, D.C., leave you alone? Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that the Justice Department will weigh its response to the state referenda.

A new national poll finds 58 percent of Americans in favor of making marijuana legal and only 39 percent against. A raft of other state laws easing the prohibition on pot and growing public contempt for the existing law should be enough to change the policy. And so should a basic sense of decency.

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5US TX: OPED: A Fog Of DenialSat, 08 Dec 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Megahan, Angelia Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/09/2012

Marijuana Destroys Lives, Says Angelia Megahan

The progressive folks of Colorado and Washington recently sowed the weed issue into the forefront of our collective consciousness. The case for the decriminalization of THC certainly grows. Yet I remain a holdout, even though the arguments, as put forth in the Dallas Morning News, are compelling - albeit nothing new.

Ten years ago, a woman told me that marijuana usage was "no big deal." I, a prosecutor at the time, waxed on about how it leads to a dead end. She laughed. A melodic guttural laugh complete with a beautiful smile dimmed only by pain that lay languishing in her eyes.

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6 US TX: PUB LTE: Don't Just DecriminalizeSun, 02 Dec 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:34 Added:12/03/2012

Re: Meeting Of The Presidents - Drug strategy should be part of conversation

I applaud the editorial board for confronting the destructive results of the drug war and calling for "more realistic marijuana policies." It is far past time.

I am mystified by how "decriminalizing consumption" might "remove mega-profits from illicit trade." Decriminalization would save tax dollars because police would be handing out tickets for marijuana possession instead of making arrests. There would be further savings for the courts and the jails. Decriminalization would make us all safer because police would have more time to pursue serious crime.

The production, distribution and sale of drugs would still be in the hands of criminals. The megaprofits would not be removed. Only legalization and regulation could do that.

Suzanne Wills, Drug Policy

Forum of Texas, Dallas


7 US TX: PUB LTE: Time For AlternativesSun, 02 Dec 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Dewberry, Bob Area:Texas Lines:30 Added:12/03/2012

Finally, politicians with fortitude have opened a discourse on the subject of marijuana. With nothing to lose, two old lame ducks - odd couple Barney Frank and Ron Paul - broached the subject of federally legalized pot after evidence that the drug war has proven to be unwinnable after 40-plus years of trying. Like alcohol and tobacco, pot is evidently here to stay.

But, is it enough simply to legalize? Why not grow marijuana under strict license to take out a large chunk of drug cartels' profits? The cost of implementing the drug war may be partially saved along with a true "cash crop" of pot for farmers to sell and the feds, states and cities to tax - and even to export.

This idea, whose time has come, is not without complexities and concerns, but obviously alternatives to prohibition need serious consideration.

Bob Dewberry, North Dallas


8 US TX: PUB LTE: Prohibition Has FailedSun, 02 Dec 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Texas Lines:36 Added:12/03/2012

The voters of Colorado and Washington state have made it clear the federal government can no longer get away with confusing the drug war's collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant.

If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize violent drug cartels, prohibition is a success. The drug war distorts supply and demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees. If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to deter use, prohibition is a failure. The United States has double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legal.

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9 US TX: PUB LTE: Veterans Need HelpSun, 02 Dec 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Stiner, Mathew Area:Texas Lines:33 Added:12/03/2012

Texas legislators should follow the recommendations of the Texas Coordinating Council for Veterans Services and significantly expand Veterans Treatment Courts throughout the state.

Texas has already saved $2 billion through aggressive criminal justice reform, including the expansion of drug courts. Now is the time to further these cost-effective programs while coming to the aid of the men and women who have sacrificed for our country.

Veterans Treatment Courts operate similar to drug courts, but are reserved for veterans suffering from substance abuse, mental illness or trauma. They actually save money because in most cases the VA covers the treatment.

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10US TX: Fatal Overdose Call DisregardedFri, 30 Nov 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Pantazi, Andrew Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/03/2012

2nd 911 Call From Complex Judged to Be Same Case

Matthew Sanchez had been popping Xanax pills for hours and was fading fast. When he finally collapsed to the floor of his Far North Dallas apartment during the early morning hours of Nov. 16, a friend dialed 911 for him and disappeared.

At the time of the call, Dallas Fire-Rescue paramedics were already working an emergency at the same apartment complex that had been phoned in only 11 minutes earlier. Emergency responders thought the calls were the same because of miscommunication so they did not respond to Sanchez's apartment while saving the first caller.

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11US TX: OPED: A Third-way Drug PolicyFri, 30 Nov 2012
Source:Denver Post (CO)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/01/2012

When voters in Colorado and Washington recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, their actions left Mexico President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto wondering whether tracking down pot growers in Mexico is a futile strategy.

It's an understandable question for Pena Nieto to ask directly when he visits President Barack Obama at the White House in a traditional postelection meeting of leaders. At the prodding of the United States, Mexico spends billions of dollars annually to fight violent and wealthy paramilitary drug trafficking organizations. Yet the U.S., which also lays out billions of dollars to curb marijuana and other drug use, remains the main destination of marijuana produced in Mexico.

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12 US TX: Support For Marijuana Legalization Growing, Advocates SaySun, 25 Nov 2012
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Author:Mitchell, Mitch Area:Texas Lines:79 Added:11/27/2012

Advocates of legalizing marijuana in Texas say they are optimistic that their message will begin to catch on with Texas voters after Colorado and Washington state voted Nov. 6 to approve legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

"We're encouraged and more convinced than ever that we will eventually prevail," said David Sloane, a spokesman for DFW Norml, a North Texas group that promotes marijuana legalization. "Prohibition is far more harmful to our communities than marijuana ever will be, and taxpayers are sick of their money being used to support failed drug war policy."

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13 US TX: PUB LTE: Drug War Not Worth ItMon, 26 Nov 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:McCool, Colleen Area:Texas Lines:38 Added:11/27/2012

Re: "Young pawns in the drug war -- Police are enlisting youthful offenders for work that's risky, unregulated and sometimes deadly, says Sarah Stillman," Sunday Points.

Thank you, Sarah Stillman and The Dallas Morning News, for publishing this commentary on current insane, violence-promoting drug-war tactics. It is morally bankrupt to punish nonviolent adults for making a safer health choice, cannabis or marijuana, compared to other medicinal or social drugs. Young nonviolent informants' deaths and other triggered violence from drug prohibition across the nation are an outrage that can no longer be tolerated.

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14US TX: Editorial: Meeting Of The PresidentsTue, 27 Nov 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:11/27/2012

Drug Strategy Should Be Part of Conversation

When voters in Colorado and Washington recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, their actions left Mexico President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto wondering whether tracking down pot growers in Mexico is a futile strategy.

It's an understandable question for Pena Nieto to ask directly when he visits President Barack Obama at the White House today in a traditional postelection meeting of leaders. At the prodding of the United States, Mexico spends billions of dollars annually to fight violent and wealthy paramilitary drug trafficking organizations. Yet the U.S., which also lays out billions of dollars to curb marijuana and other drug use, remains the main destination of marijuana produced in Mexico.

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15 US TX: LTE: Drug-Test Issue Is SimpleTue, 27 Nov 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Scroggins, Anita Area:Texas Lines:39 Added:11/27/2012

Re: =93Drug test plan is unlawful =AD It would violate rights of applicants for jobless aid, welfare, says Kurt Schwarz,=94 Wednesday Viewpoints.

I find it offensive in the extreme that Schwarz dares to drag veterans and senior citizens into his argument on drug testing for unemployment and welfare applicants. My husband is a 20-year Marine Corps veteran. He earned his pension =AD he is not asking for a government handout =AD a very large distinction.

Also, let me assure you that my husband was drug tested each and every year that he served, several times a year, in fact. I don't remember the ACLU complaining about that.

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16US TX: Column: Young Pawns In The Drug WarSun, 25 Nov 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Stillman, Sarah Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:11/26/2012

Police are enlisting youthful offenders for work that's risky, unregulated and sometimes deadly, says Sarah Stillman

On the evening of May 7, 2008, a 23-year-old woman named Rachel Hoffman got into her silver Volvo sedan, put on calming jam-band music, and headed north to a public park in Tallahassee, Fla. A recent graduate of Florida State, she was dressed to blend into a crowd: jeans, T-shirt, black Reef flip-flops. On the passenger seat beside her was a handbag that contained $13,000 in marked bills.

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17 US TX: OPED: A Real Drug Lab In Two StatesThu, 22 Nov 2012
Source:Huntsville Item (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:129 Added:11/24/2012

Colorado and Washington made history on Election Day when their citizens voted to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol. The temptation for wordplay is high (we're allowed one), but the time for pot jokes is over. These successful legalization efforts mark a turning point in our nation's War on Drugs, and how we react will set the stage for decades to come.

In this realm of marijuana policy, we encourage the Department of Justice to heed the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: "It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."

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18 US TX: PUB LTE: Pot Laws Aren't WorkingTue, 20 Nov 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Betzen, Bill Area:Texas Lines:37 Added:11/22/2012

Re: "Pot is no laughing matter - Our children are being targeted by drug dealers, says Lisa M. Virgoe," Saturday Viewpoints.

"Whether or not you think the 'war on drugs' is working, wrongheaded or a spectacular failure is immaterial." Such a statement could only be made by someone who really does not care or who is totally unaware of the damage being done.

Our laws should reflect the truth. The truth is that marijuana is much less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Of these three "recreational drugs," how many people die from each one every day?

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19 US TX: PUB LTE: To Tim TimmonsMon, 19 Nov 2012
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Betzen, Stephen Area:Texas Lines:30 Added:11/20/2012

A man who changed my life died recently. Tim and my wife were both bound to wheelchairs when we met. It was so easy to become angry at a hard life. He taught us that despite suffering, we could choose gratitude and happiness. His example changed our way of thinking.

When his multiple sclerosis prevented him from serving the poor at his church in Dallas, he continued to minister to people like me in his home. He became known for his medical marijuana advocacy, as he found it helped him. The essence in everything he touched was about compassion, gratitude and grace. He was one of the most faithful men I have ever met.

He always greeted you with a smile and the most jolly hello. You couldn't leave his presence without feeling better about yourself.

Stephen Betzen, south Oak Cliff, director of the Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care


20 US TX: District Looking Into Random Drug Tests For Some StudentsSun, 18 Nov 2012
Source:Mineral Wells Index (TX) Author:Cluett, Libby Area:Texas Lines:94 Added:11/20/2012

MWISD developing testing policy for students in extracurricular activities

Mineral Wells ISD trustees gave the district's School Health Advisory Committee the green light to further develop a student drug testing policy to potentially implement in the next school year.

Lead Nurse and SHAC Chair Wanda Voelcker informed trustees that committee members visited with the police chief and drug task force and believe that adopting a policy to randomly test students involved in extracurricular activities might help deter some students from using drugs.

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