Marijuana

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Related ›› El Paso law officers oppose marijuana legalization
State Rep. Joe Moody said Friday he will continue working for legislation that decriminalizes possessing small amounts of marijuana so that people are not punished unduly for what should be a minor violation.
Moody, D-El Paso, and others agreed that the legal consequences for possessing marijuana are overly harsh and continue long after convictions. People who acquire a criminal record for drugs may lose out on financial aid for school, jobs, housing and entering the military.

Moody, a former prosecutor, was on a panel to discuss marijuana legalization, decriminalization and alternatives to prosecution as part of the Texas Lyceum Conference titled “Have We Lost the War on Drugs.”
His bill to replace criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana with a $240 civil fine didn’t make it past the calendars committee this session, but he said the serious attention the measure and others like it received during the legislative session encouraged him try again in the future.
“We’ve come a long way in Texas in a very short time,” said Moody, who was on a panel with Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Colt DeMorris, president of the El Paso chapter of NORML, an organization that advocates the responsible use of marijuana.

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DeMorris said he doesn’t believe that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the inevitable use of stronger and highly addictive drugs.
“We’ve been told lies. We’ve been using marijuana for at least 6,000 years, and it wasn’t until the 1930’s that the government found it was more profitable to make it illegal,” DeMorris said. In 1937, a federal tax went into effect on the sale of marijuana — it was repealed in 1970.
“It’s the black market that’s a gateway drug,” DeMorris said. “(Dealers) who run out of marijuana may offer other drugs to buyers, and that’s how they entice people into trying other drugs. Marijuana can be used an ‘exit drug’ without any harmful side effects.”
An exit drug is one that is used as a substitute for other things, such as alcohol, heroin and harder drugs or prescription drugs.
DeMorris also said that marijuana has medical properties, and as hemp can be used in the manufacture of numerous useful products.
Colorado, which legalized marijuana, raised $700 million in tax revenue in the first year since the law was passed, and a portion of the revenue is being …Read More

Thousands of marijuana plants have been seized from East Texas, where police say there has been a recent surge in the number of illegal pot farms.

At least 5,000 plants were recovered from a farm near I-20 and County Road 336, which led police to discover two more marijuana grow sites nearby.
State Representative Bryan Hughes told KLTV that state police are cracking down on marijuana farms near the Texas-Mexico border, and he believes that crackdown has led marijuana farmers to migrate to East Texas.
“The fact that it’s right here near the interstate, that we drive up and down all the time, it just really underscored what a problem it is and how easy it is to hide an operation this size,” Hughes said.

Illegal marijuana farms, a growing problem in East Texas.

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— KTRE News (@KTREnews) July 29, 2015

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -Thousands of marijuana plants are seized after officers say they caught pot farmers in the act.
One of the men was spotted watering the plants near I-20 and County Road 336. That man is still on the run, but the operation has been shut down.
Officials say that problems along the Texas-Mexico border could lead to more of these illegal farms here in East Texas.
At least 8,000 plants were collected and counted after Smith County narcotics officers located not just one but three different marijuana grow sites.
“If you ever see a helicopter sitting still and all of us running that way, you know they got something spotted,” said Lt. Gary Middleton.
Sheriff Larry Smith says when investigators went to one site Tuesday morning, they found one of the farmers watering the plants. He then fled into the woods.
“They got close to one of them but they believe there were three here,” Smith said.
Smith says he believes the farmers have been there for quite some time and had set up generators, stoves and water pumps all while maintaining the grow.
Deputies went into the fields to pull some of the plants, but parts of the fields weren’t accessible for a truck and trailer.
 “We’re moving them from the fields with a helicopter to an open field, where we’re going to hand count the plants. We do that to figure out how many plants because we have some figures to calculate how much marijuana that would produce, so that will be used for prosecution later on,” Smith said.
State Representative Bryan Hughes was on site during the operation.
He believes as the state becomes more aggressive patrolling drugs on the border, domestic grows like this one may become more common.
“The fact that it’s right here near the interstate, that we drive up and down all the time, it just really underscored what a problem it is and how easy it is to hide an operation this size,” Hughes said.
Officials say it’s unclear just how much marijuana these fields produce, but they are certain that the drugs wouldn’t stay just in Smith County.
 “It’s a danger for local folk obviously, not to mention the danger of the finished product. We know how serious marijuana is as a gateway drug. We want to make sure that Texas is keeping families …Read More

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -Thousands of marijuana plants are seized after officers say they caught pot farmers in the act.
One of the men was spotted watering the plants near I-20 and County Road 336. That man is still on the run, but the operation has been shut down.
Officials say that problems along the Texas-Mexico border could lead to more of these illegal farms here in East Texas.
At least 8,000 plants were collected and counted after Smith County narcotics officers located not just one but three different marijuana grow sites.
“If you ever see a helicopter sitting still and all of us running that way, you know they got something spotted,” said Lt. Gary Middleton.
Sheriff Larry Smith says when investigators went to one site Tuesday morning, they found one of the farmers watering the plants. He then fled into the woods.
“They got close to one of them but they believe there were three here,” Smith said.
Smith says he believes the farmers have been there for quite some time and had set up generators, stoves and water pumps all while maintaining the grow.
Deputies went into the fields to pull some of the plants, but parts of the fields weren’t accessible for a truck and trailer.
 “We’re moving them from the fields with a helicopter to an open field, where we’re going to hand count the plants. We do that to figure out how many plants because we have some figures to calculate how much marijuana that would produce, so that will be used for prosecution later on,” Smith said.
State Representative Bryan Hughes was on site during the operation.
He believes as the state becomes more aggressive patrolling drugs on the border, domestic grows like this one may become more common.
“The fact that it’s right here near the interstate, that we drive up and down all the time, it just really underscored what a problem it is and how easy it is to hide an operation this size,” Hughes said.
Officials say it’s unclear just how much marijuana these fields produce, but they are certain that the drugs wouldn’t stay just in Smith County.
 “It’s a danger for local folk obviously, not to mention the danger of the finished product. We know how serious marijuana is as a gateway drug. We want to make sure that Texas is keeping families …Read More

Some of the marijuana plants seized in Erath County Friday(Photo: Erath County Sheriff’s Office)

ERATH COUNTY — Roughly 10,000 marijuana plants were seized in southern Erath County Friday in what state troopers are calling one of the largest drug busts in recent memory.
Police said the estimated value of the marijuana is in excess of $60 million.
The entire grow operation took place outdoors over several pieces of land south of Stephenville, police said. A photo from the Erath County Sheriff’s Office shows some of the plants indoors at an undisclosed evidence storage unit.
At least seven law enforcement agencies assisted in the seizure, which was part of the Domestic Marijuana Eradication program, according to a release from the Erath County Sheriff’s Office.
Dub Gillum, a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday’s bust is one of the biggest he’s seen in his 25 years of work with the DPS.

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$60 million worth of marijuana was seized from southern Erath County in what law enforcement officials are calling the largest drug bust in recent memory. David Goins reports.

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A woman smokes marijuana during a Prohibition-era themed New Year’s Eve party at a bar in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A new study from the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work identified an interesting trend in marijuana usage and disapproval of the drug among young adults.
The study — which was published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse — collected data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2002 and 2013. According to a press release issued on Monday, responses were aggregated from 105,903 younger adolescents (ages 12 to 14); 110,949 older adolescents (ages 15-17); and 221,976 young adults (ages 18-25).
Among adults aged 18 to 25, the study identified a downward disapproval rating — from 41% to 23% — with only a marginal 2% spike in marijuana usage.

“What explains this?” asks Christopher Salas-Wright, an assistant professor at UT-Austin and lead author of the study.
“It is hard to know,” he says. “[But] the rise of medical marijuana, the relaxing of marijuana use laws and increased exposure of marijuana as perhaps normative – as well as no longer immoral – may be influencing how young adults feel about others using marijuana, but not impacting beliefs about one’s own use of marijuana.”
Zachary Pion, an alumnus from the University of Vermont, says he agrees with Salas-Wright’s claim.
“I would say I’ve always had a strong opposition to marijuana usage, but seeing it so freely in my college experience, I became far less sensitized to its usage very quickly, even though it did not impact my own decision to not use the substance,” Pion says.
Salas-Wright says he was interested in understanding substance usage among young people, and, in turn, how to prevent substance abuse.
In addition, given the recent trend of marijuana legalization, researchers wanted to see if these policy changes had an impact on usage and beliefs surrounding the drug.
“Our results may suggest that recent changes in public policy, including the decriminalization, medicalization and legalization of marijuana in cities and states across the country, have not resulted in more use or greater approval of marijuana use among younger adolescents,” Salas-Wright says.
Some students say they agree with the findings shown.
“Younger age groups are less likely to approve of marijuana because …Read More

LIPSCOMB (AP) — Investigators say more than 109,000 marijuana plants have been found growing in the rural Texas Panhandle.
The Drug Enforcement Administration in Dallas on Wednesday confirmed the discovery but declined comment on whether anyone was arrested.
DEA spokesman Tim Davis says the outdoor plot was located several days ago in Lipscomb County. Davis did not say who found the plants or whether the marijuana has been destroyed. He says the plants have been removed and are no longer growing.
Further details weren’t immediately released on the investigation involving local and federal authorities.
Lipscomb County is in the far northeast Texas Panhandle and borders Oklahoma.
(Copyright ©2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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So, medical marijuana is kind of a thing in Texas now.

Medical marijuana could be legal in Texas, sort of.The Texas House of Representatives voted 96 to 34 to approve the second reading of a Senate bill that would allow limited use of Cannabidiol oils, a marijuana derivative, Progress Texas said in a press release..And the proposals authors are Republican! Crazy.Maybe the times are a changin’? Progress Texas Executive Deputy Ed Espinoza said the approval is historic.He is right.“Marijuana policy reform has made history in Texas! More than 20,000 people engaged in a serious conversation this year, and we are pleased to see strong support from a bipartisan majority,” Espinoza said in a press release.Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Washington D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, told the San Antonio Current that while the bill is a step in the right direction, full-scale, whole plant, medicinal marijuana is what the Lone Star State needs.The bill, crafted by Sen. Kevin Etlife and Rep. Stephanie Klick would legalize the Cannabidiol oils, which don’t cause euphoria upon ingestion.The oils have been shown to bring relief to people suffering from intractable epilepsy. Now, all eyes are on Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The bill is on its way to his desk.
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Analysis of 20 years of research on regular marijuana use found alarming negative mental and physical health effects, especially for teens.

AUSTIN, Texas (Christian Examiner) — Texas bills legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing possession of it passed state House committees earlier this month, but will not become law in the Lone Star State.
House Calendar Committee Chair Todd Hunter (R- Corpus Christi) reportedly refused to schedule the two bills before the deadline for action, The Daily Chronic reported.
The bill ending marijuana’s prohibition passed the Criminal jurisprudence Committee 5 to 2, May 7. Another bill intended to lessen the penalties for carrying the drug passed 4 to 2 in the same committee May 5 after an initial rejection the week before.

Had the bill to reduce penalties passed the House, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana would no longer produce a criminal record, there would be no threat of arrest, and jail time would be replaced by a civil fine up to $250.
Additionally, the law to end prohibition would have allowed the plant to be grown like a crop. The measure upheld a ban on minors’ consumption of the drug except with parental supervision.
The failure of these two bills leaves only one more proposed piece of pot legislation for Texas lawmakers to consider—legalizing medical marijuana use. However, this bill faces likely failure because wording requires doctors to “prescribe” the drug, which is not allowed under federal law. In states that allow medical marijuana programs, doctors “recommend” medical marijuana to patients or “certify” patients to enroll in their states’ programs—wording and actions that are federally legal and protected under the First Amendment.
The Texas legislative session ends June 1.

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TEMPLE – An illegal, synthetic form of marijuana is on the rise in central Texas, making its way into the hands of teens and young adults with sometimes deadly outcomes.According to Hollie Blair, a toxicology specialist for Texas Poison Control out of Baylor Scott and White Memorial hospital in Temple, use of the drug has been steadily rising for the past three years. Some doctors estimate as much as a 100 percent increase in the last year. Numbers from Texas Poison Control show use usually spikes near the end of the school year.Synthetic marijuana, also called “spice” or “K2,” has been illegal in Texas since 2011. Before that, the drug was commonly found near tobacco products in shops and convenience stores, although marked not safe for human consumption. Spice is classified just like marijuana but is often altered at a chemical level to be more potent than its natural cousin. Blair said some versions can be up to 50 times more potent than actual marijuana.”We don’t know enough about it, which is what potentially makes it so dangerous,” Blair said. “We can’t even warn patients about certain things if we have not seen that compound before.”She said the synthetic version usually acts much like real pot, but can sometimes have almost opposite effects than intended. She added because there’s no regulation on how much of the active chemical is in spice, the results are often negative. Doctors said users can experience agitation, a spike in body temperature and seizures that could lead to brain damage. In some cases a single use has been linked to death.
Parents are encouraged to look for odd behavior in their children and if they see any symptoms or signs of use, Blair said call poison control or 911.

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