Lawyer's Plea on Pot Penalty

  Lawyer's Plea on Pot Penalty

Posted by CN Staff on January 08, 2005 at 23:22:13 PT
By Bryan M. Samuelson 
Source: Houston Chronicle 

This year, the Texas Legislature will have the opportunity to consider reducing the punishment for an individual who is caught with less than an ounce of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine only.Under this proposal, jurisdiction of these cases will lie with justice of the peace and municipal courts only. The current law provides that a person caught in possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana shall be punished by up to six months in jail, and up to a $2,000 fine. Under the proposal by state Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, a person found to be in possession of less than an ounce could not be sentenced to jail, but fined up to $500.
This is an important bill, because if it becomes law it will reduce the congestion in our courts, save taxpayers money and still provide an adequate means of enforcing the law. But the most important factor that must be considered is the fact that marijuana is not nearly as harmful as once believed.In the 1930s, both the media and legislators depicted marijuana as an extremely dangerous drug, causing it to be banned in the United States in 1938. In 1972, after reviewing new evidence on marijuana and its effects, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse admitted that its dangers had been overstated. Since then, many studies on humans, animals and cell cultures have been conducted. None of them has contradicted the findings by the commission.In fact, the overwhelming evidence available today strongly indicates that marijuana use is not nearly as harmful as once believed, and actually has therapeutic and medicinal values. Unlike nicotine and alcohol, marijuana is not physically addictive. There is no convincing scientific evidence that marijuana kills brain cells, impairs long-term memory or causes mental or physical illness.Snipped:Complete Article: Houston Chronicle (TX)Author: Bryan M. SamuelsonPublished: January 8, 2005Copyright: 2004 Houston Chronicle Website: viewpoints chron.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Texans For Medical Marijuana Marijuana OK, Says TMA Group Backs Medical Marijuana in Texas

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Comment #17 posted by FoM on January 11, 2005 at 17:17:45 PT
I don't know how it got as bad as it did but it sure did. I'm sure you're right that Clinton made it worse. I guess when I think of where it started to excelerate it was with the Just Say No Campaign years ago started. It's time to change these laws. Even if the intentions were good the results of years of incarceration show it has done more harm to society then marijuana ever has done.
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Comment #16 posted by rchandar on January 11, 2005 at 16:44:02 PT:
he sure didn't--It was, really, Clinton, that made arrest a real possibility for pot smokers. Once upon a time, the arrest numbers were something like 200,000, now it's 700,000. That's just absurdly high.--rchandar
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Comment #15 posted by Sam Adams on January 10, 2005 at 07:51:28 PT
A Brave Soul
Watch out, Harold Sutton. I would expect the lynching pary to show up on your doorstep any day now. Good thing Karl Rove is in Washington now or this guy would be toast. Karl would sic some vicious DA's on his ass. 
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Comment #14 posted by Sukoi on January 09, 2005 at 18:38:10 PT
If I recall correctly, one of the first convictions for cannabis was in my home state of Texas. I believe that the individual was convicted of possession of one "joint" and was sentenced to life in prison and if I'm not mistaken, he's still there! Please correct me anyone if I've got my facts a bit skewed! 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 16:08:59 PT
I have a web form that I use to post articles and I have an edit feature in the web form. It's all in html that's why I can't fix major mistakes or I could cause the web site injury but I can fix spelling errors.
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Comment #12 posted by runruff on January 09, 2005 at 15:59:18 PT:
How'd you do that?
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 15:06:43 PT
I fixed it for you.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 15:03:41 PT

I wanted to add that what you said doesn't surprise me at all. 
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on January 09, 2005 at 14:49:35 PT:

I ment usurper.Hi FoM. you are welcome.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 14:45:06 PT

Thank you. I have never disliked a president like I do Bush. I didn't care for Clinton either but that was because he didn't come thru for us on marijuana laws not his life style. Can one person wreck the USA? If so Bush is the first person that I ever thought could do it.
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on January 09, 2005 at 14:32:13 PT:

Like the rest of this great country under god, Texas was taken by force from the people who had been liveing there for eons. When I was living in the bay area in the early 70's I remember a letter to the editor of a national magazine from an inmate in a Texas prision. He said he was doing thirty years for possesssion of two joints. A good friend of mine and fellow musican here in So. Oregon died recently at a young age. He was a very bitter Viet nam vet who came home to Idaho where he was promptly arrested for possession of two joints. He did two years in max secerity. He never got over either. "W" I think is the Gov. of Texas with the most executions under his belt.
You may call him what ever you like but don't call him my Pres. He is a usurper of life, freedom, and justice He stole the highest office in the land and made a mokery of what is suppose be the the gov't and freedoms I wasted four years of my youth and many fine friends for.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 14:09:13 PT

A Question
I am not into politics because I believe most all government is mostly corrupt but this is something I've wonder. If Republicans are for less government and more individual liberties why do red states have some of the worst laws on the books on Cannabis? 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 13:54:55 PT

I feel so bad that I think the way I do about Texas and the South but look at how bad the laws are and it makes the state and southern states scary. I live in a red state but I am an American not just a person who lives in a red state. I hope and pray for the southern people to see too. We are in the year 2005. It should be a more open minded time in our history. 
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Comment #4 posted by laduncon on January 09, 2005 at 13:49:36 PT:

Silver lining in Texas
Amazingly, Bush only beat Kerry by about 10,000 votes in Dallas County, Tx. (350,000 to 340,000, or so) 
If "Bush's Backyard" Dallas gets it, then I can't help but have hope for the future. Also, one heck of an article! I've been seeing more of these in the paper around here, slowly expanding the borders of rational debate about cannabis.... maybe Texas is finally waking up.

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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 09:24:26 PT

The South
Dankhank, Now that I know about red and blue states the only direction we would go on vacation is north and west. I really had no idea about how bad things are in the south until this election. I really have learned a lot doing CNews. 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 09, 2005 at 09:08:16 PT

Years ago we had to go thru Texas and never thought anything about it. Now that we know what we know we decided we would never go into Texas again. That is one scary state.
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on January 09, 2005 at 09:00:18 PT

Texass ..
Driving from OKC to Texas you cross the Red River to enter Texas.In the 70's Texas had the second most draconian pot possession law on the planet, 2-life. Communist China was the worst, 3-life.To note that fact travellers to Texas would fire up a phattie as they crossed the Red River going to Texas.Take that prohibitionists ...
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