It’s a new year, and signs abound that cannabis decriminalization will continue rolling across the nation. Three more states legalized recreational use on the November ballot – bringing the total to seven – and four other states joined the long list of medical use states.
The big question is, will a Trump administration crack down on these states, considering federal government still lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug? The president-elect said he favors states’ rights, but his selection for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is among the worst drug war fanatics in the country. Sessions could do serious damage if he is let off the leash.
But Sessions is supremely out of touch with America and rationality itself. It’s now abundantly clear to the vast majority that locking people in a cage for using a plant that’s far less dangerous than alcohol – and has wondrous potential for medical use – is completely absurd.
State and local governments are realizing this too, even in the deep South.
Kim Ogg, the new Houston, Texas, District Attorney, affirmed a campaign promise during her inauguration ceremony on Monday. Local CW39 reports:
“All misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail,” Ogg said during her comments from the podium…
“I’ve never felt good about putting marijuana users in the same jail cells as murderers. It’s just not fair, it doesn’t make any sense, and our country is resoundingly against that,” Ogg said briefly after her inauguration finished.”
The announcement does not amount to decriminalization, as the law must be changed by legislators, but Ogg intends to use her discretion to the fullest.
“I’m going to look at our legislature to take another look at the drug laws and the penalties that are imposed under Texas law. As long as it’s the law, I’ll follow it. But our office is going to use the discretion that the legislature gave us to handle marijuana cases differently,” Ogg said when asked about the charges against the local celebrities.”
Two rappers, Paul Wall and Baby Bash, face felony charges after being arrested for cannabis and “byproducts” with intent to deliver.
CW39 notes that several bills have been filed in Austin to “relax Texas’ stance on weed,” but they have yet to be considered.
Even outside of the famously liberal capitol city, authorities seem to be undergoing a sort of enlightenment. D.A. Kim Ogg has a friend in Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who said the previous week he doesn’t see any benefit in going after pot users.
It’s part of a larger trend away from criminalizing cannabis and toward acceptance of its proven medical benefits. Avecedo made the comments during a radio interview with Dean Becker.
“I think you’ll have a really spirited but well-informed discussion, and at some point I could really foresee, in the future, marijuana and some other oils being legalized for medicinal purposes; it will probably be the first step in Texas,” Acevedo said during the program, which was pre-recorded in Houston.
“We absolutely believe in (reform), that we want to push for it, but not just at the federal level, but at the state level as well.“
Acevedo sees the drug war as a failure, and even hopes to implement a law enforcement program to give small-time drug dealers a second chance instead of putting them in cages with violent criminals.
The news from Houston comes on the heels of another major win for rationality in Arizona, where a Court of Appeals ruled that an arbitrary, unscientific blood-THC number is not sufficient grounds for criminalizing a cannabis user with a DUI charge.
Prohibition doesn’t work; there is not a single benefit except to the police state by enriching their coffers and filling jail cells. Together, the Houston D.A. and police chief can be a shining example for taking steps to end the failed, immoral War on Drugs.