Articles Posted in Marijuana

Marijuana Laws in Texas

The War on Drugs has been around for decades and marihuana is no exception. In Texas, the  possession and distribution of marihuana are against the law. Texas drug penalties depend on the type of substance in your possession, the amount of substance in your possession, and whether you’re near a drug-free zone or minors. If you are facing marihuana charges, the penalties can be very serious.

What is Marijuana in Texas?

If charged with an offense and want to hire an attorney but can’t afford one you may qualify for a court appointed attorney.

In some situations, you may not be happy with the court appointed attorney. But, it is unlikely that the court will appoint someone else. Unless you want to hire your own attorney, you are pretty much stuck with whoever the court appoints.

What if the attorney isn’t telling me what I want to hear?

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Whether you measure you favorite chemical indulgences in grams or ounces you need to take some basic cell phone safety precautions. First, a disclaimer, a warrant and a dedicated forensic technologist can find pretty much anything on your IOS or Android device (Blackberries are the most secure phones available, but who wants to use a grandpa phone with real buttons?). But, with the right settings/apps/common sense you may be able to get through most traffic stops and common police encounters without getting yourself or your friends in more trouble than the initial detention.

How does a law enforcement officer (let’s call him LEO) use cell phone data? The most common way is when you are arrested and the officer just picks the phone up and starts reading your texts to see who your dealer/connect/reup is. The officer may also answer your phone or send texts to try and generate some more offenses/arrests. Now the Supreme Court has held that cell phone data is protected and the police must have a warrant to search your phone, but Constitutional protections tend to find exceptions (we have a drug war to fight, and most judges are on the side of the Government), also most snitch deals are never seen in court and LEO may look at your phone anyway just to see who is in your network of friends without intending to use the evidence in court. On to the tips.

On to the rules-

In Texas our pro conviction appellate courts have blessed the practice of law enforcement profiling drivers and investigating routine traffic stops as drug trafficking.  This practice involves an officer deciding that you are a drug dealer and then following you until you commit a traffic violation.

I thought racial profiling was illegal in Texas?

It is. But to get anywhere with that you an officer honest or dumb enough to testify that race was a factor in his investigation. LEO learns quickly to keep those thoughts to himself. Our numerous traffic laws allow great cover for profiling. DPS knows to just follow who they want to stop until they can find some evidence of a traffic violation. That’s considered great police work in Texas. We allow and encourage non-racial profiling. Which means a DPS Trooper can list any reason but race as a reason to follow you and wait for a traffic violation and then search for drugs.

I went to my first DFW NORML meeting last night and came away very impressed. Really good speakers and a lot of very friendly and enthusiastic supporters. Over 120 people showed up on a holiday weekend, which is something I wouldn’t have thought possible 10 years ago.

When I first started blogging legalization and reform of marijuana laws was still not a mainstream topic. Locally in Kaufman County I know at least a few people thought it was a strange issue for me to champion. Back then we had a few medical marijuana states, but no where near the momentum we have now.  It’s rare now that I discuss marijuana prohibition with anyone under 40 who thinks it’s a successful program that should be continued. The game has changed folks, and momentum is on the side of freedom and growing every day. Much more media attention on the issue, polls are showing that political majorities across the country support reform, and the scientific evidence for marijuana’s medicinal qualities is too strong to question at this point (unless you’re the DEA).

That’s the good news. The bad news, we still live in Texas and authoritarian social conservatives still exert too much influence on the political process. We can fix things in the Lone Star State, but like any political movement more people need to get involved. The best way to do that is to join your local NORML chapter.

Eric Holder has given a tentative green light for State recreational marijuana programs to go forward. Given how the last medical marijuana memo has been largely ignored, I’m still a little pessimistic the DOJ will really leave these States alone. Regardless, here are ten reasons Texas should take this opportunity to reform our State’s marijuana laws. As a reminder, possession of any usable amount of marihuana is a 180-days-in-county-jail misdemeanor in Texas. I know, we are insane about weed in the Lone Star State, but it doesn’t have to be this way. On to the list.

1. Willie Nelson. Are we really going to keep arresting Willie? Really? What kind of asshole arrests Willie Nelson for pot. If this was my only reason, it would be enough.

2. It’s safer than booze. Texans drink a lot. Booze kills people. Weed can’t kill you.

Tom Pauken is running for Governor of Texas. He’s nearly identical to Greg Abbott in every way, except Greg Abbott has a lot more money. Tom’s trying to differentiate himself so he recently took to Facebook to tout himself as a supporter of veterans.

Tom was asked if he would support allowing veterans to use medical marijuana, or if he wanted to continue to have them arrested. At first Tom just deleted the comments. (He banned me from his page and removed all my comments).

Finally Tom’s inability to answer this question became really embarrassing so he let loose fired off the answer below. Now remember what the question was; Tom Pauken, who allegedly really loves veterans, was asked if should we arrest veterans who use medical marijuana. Tom’s answer-

Todd is an expert in medical marijuana and is lucky enough to live and work in a State that doesn’t attempt to arrest every person who uses cannabis for any reason. Texas could have experts like this, but they’d be arrested. It’s interviews like these that remind me I live in a police state with backwards laws. On to the interview-

1. Give me a short bio.

CAN! Research President, Todd Dalotto has a HBS in Horticultural Research from Oregon State University, Chairs Oregon’s Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana (ACMM), Chairs the ACMM’s Horticulture, Research & Safety Committee, and authored The Hemp Cookbook: From Seed to Shining Seed (Inner Traditions, 2000). His vast experience in cannabis science, politics, and public policy includes founding America’s first hemp food business (Hungry Bear Hemp Foods), founding Oregon’s first medical clinic/support/education center (Compassion Center) for medical cannabis patients, and serving on legislative and administrative advisory committees for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program under the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority. Todd is a valuable resource as a teacher, consultant, scientist, and court-qualified expert witness, specializing in Cannabis.

Both Forney online media outlets are reporting that a grow house was discovered in the Windmill Farms subdivision. It appears the house was abandoned and no arrests were made. Thank goodness. The last thing we need to waste our local tax dollars on is another pot case.

You know what will end residential grow houses? Legalization.

I know people who have tried to brew their own beer and most quit after a batch or two. It’s a messy and smelly process. It’s not easy to make something that even compares to Beast lite, much less Chimay. I’ve never seen someone convert an entire residence to making bathtub bock. And why would they? They can march down to Wal Mart and buy a better product at a low price and save themselves the trouble. For some reason we can’t apply this rational reality based approach to weed. It’s a strange situation given how dangerous booze is relative to pot. You could smoke every ounce of bud in this grow house and it wouldn’t kill you.

In case you missed it, Pat Robertson, yes that Pat Robertson, is questioning the wisdom of cannabis prohibition. I’m amazed it took this long for a Christian Conservative leader to come out against arresting and prosecuting adults for smoking weed. It seems to violate the Golden Rule/ “love your neighbor as yourself” ethos to lock said neighbor in a government cage and steal their money, children, and freedom for consuming a plant.

It also speaks to the glaring inconsistency in mainstream Republican thought. Fiscal conservatism is based on the idea that individuals should be responsible for their own behavior and decisions, and that central planning and oppressive government regulations are bad for America. Free markets, free trade, Adam Smith, self interested rational actors, invisbile hand etc all speak to the idea that individuals, not the State, make better decisions on how to spend money.

Unless you spend that money on “drugs”. Then fiscal conservatism Hulks out and becomes the evil twin, big government social conservatism.

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