dallas

Texas: Dallas Approves Cite And Release Program For Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Possession of marijuana in Dallas, Texas might not automatically land someone in jail anymore.

Dallas city council members voted 10-to-5 to approve a “cite and release” program for simple marijuana possession.

Although strongly supported, some people, like former officer Pete Schulte, think the program does not go far enough.

“In a perfect world, if people were cited, they were released and they showed up to court and took care of their case, perfect,” said Schulte, who’s now a defense lawyer. “Chances of that happening maybe 10 percent of the time are slim to none.”

Schulte thinks it would put more stress on the criminal justice system. He said if someone does not show up for their date in court, a warrant will be issued and served for their arrest, which he said would just tax law enforcement weeks or months later.

“I think it’s just pushing the ball down the court,” said Schulte. “It’s not going to help anything.”

Council member Philip Kingston, the man behind the initiative, strongly disagrees.

“That’s boneheaded,” said Kingston. “Our cops are smart.”

Kingston believes cite and release will help free up officers to focus on more serious crimes.

“I think what we’ve done at this point is made this crime such a hassle for police to mess with, that they’ll simply quit,” said Kingston.

Texas: Cowboys' Owner Jerry Jones Wants NFL To Drop Its Marijuana Ban

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jerry Jones spoke up at the Annual League Meeting for NFL team owners last week, telling the group that he wants the NFL to "drop its prohibition on marijuana use."

His fellow owners reminded him that a change won’t be coming anytime soon because it’s something that would have to be collectively bargained.

Jones is certainly not alone in the NFL in questioning the league's ban on marijuana use. Former Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said in an interview for Sportsday a few months ago that he compared it to alcohol.

"I see guys that partake in marijuana are calmer, cooler than guys that drink", Carr said. "I haven't really seen too many people get in jams or binds with their emotions or losing their cool off of marijuana."

Several other retired NFL players, such as former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, have spoken out in recent months encouraging the NFL to consider new information available, and to drop its ban on medical marijuana. Some players feel that using medical marijuana is safer than using prescription painkillers, which can be addictive.

The NFL told Pro Football Talk it is "willing to listen to the medical community" regarding the use of marijuana.

Texas: Dallas Rejects Marijuana Cite-and-Release Plan

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Dallas City Council rejected a plan to ticket people instead of arresting them for minor drug offenses Wednesday morning.

Several council members and the Dallas police chief were supporters of the idea. The proposal would have required Dallas police officers to issue tickets to Dallas residents discovered with four ounces of marijuana or less, instead of arresting them.

Phillip Kingston, a council member and out-spoken supporter of the proposal, said allowing those found with pot to stay out of jail as long as they showed up later for court was the least the city could do.

"I'm as transparent about this as I can be. My hope is that this will finally convince DPD to ignore marijuana. That is my goal, that they will ignore marijuana. I know that I don't have the power to legalize the stuff, but I do have the power to correctly allocate criminal justice resources that are under my control so that they aren't spent on pot," he told the Dallas Observer in December.

The biggest objection to cite-and-release was raised Wednesday by Sandy Greyson, a council member who represents parts of Far North Dallas that are in Denton and Collin County. Those residents would not have been eligible for cite-and-release because they reside in a different sheriff's jurisdiction.

After Dallas Police Chief David Brown told the council that Collin and Denton counties would not be joining the proposed program, Greyson said Wednesday the unequal application of the law was unfair.

Texas: Marijuana Possession Could Soon Get Tickets, Not Arrests, In Dallas

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said he has mixed feelings about allowing his officers to write tickets instead of arresting people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana. But he said the approach is "just so damn practical."

Police officers and city council members discussed the move at Tuesday's public safety committee meeting of the Dallas City Council, reports Melissa Repko at The Dallas Morning News. The "cite and release" pilot program would mean citations for marijuana possession, rather than arrests.

The public safety committee voted to refer the idea to the entire City Council without a recommendation.

A Texas state law passed in 2007 allows cops to issue citations instead of making arrests for some minor offenses, including possession of small amounts of cannabis. The approach is intended to save time and money by keeping minor offenders out of jail and allowing cops to remain on the streets; it doesn't change the official penalty for the crime.

Using cite and release is a "no brainer" that would help save time and lower 911 call response times, said council member Philip Kingston. He said it would allow cops to focus on public safety priorities.

Kingston said he'd legalized marijuana if he could, comparing marijuana possession to jay-walking in terms of seriousness.

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather Saturday For Advocacy Training

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform advocates -- including an active-duty Dallas police officer -- will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce in Tyler.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the fourth in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Houston on December 12, Amarillo on January 9, and Lubbock on January 10.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Nick Novello, an officer with the Dallas Police Department and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 3:30 p.m. CT, and he will be available for interviews immediately after.

“I work toward marijuana legalization because, as an active police officer, I have an obligation to improve public safety and protect my community,” Officer Novello said. “Regulation and education will focus police resources on more important crimes and make the drug more difficult for children to get. By every measure, marijuana prohibition has failed. Safer communities are within reach.”

Texas: Marijuana Activists To Gather In Dallas Saturday For Advocacy Training Event

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform activists, including a former Dallas police official, will gather Saturday, Oct. 31, for an advocacy training event at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the second in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Corpus Christi on November 7, East Texas on December 5, and Houston on December 12. The first event was held earlier this month in San Antonio.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Joe Morris, a retired senior police corporal who enforced marijuana laws in uniform and undercover during his tenure at the Dallas Police Department. He will join representatives of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy for media availability at 9:30 a.m. CT, and members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 10:15 a.m. CT.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a public policy failure and a public safety nightmare,” said Morris, who participated in hundreds of marijuana-related undercover stings during his career, oftentimes involving buying marijuana from or selling it to high school students.

Study: Nicotine Changes The Way Marijuana Affects The Brain

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nicotine changes the way marijuana affects the brain, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas.

When marijuana and tobacco are combined, according to the study, which was published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, memory gets stronger as the hippocampus, an area of the brain which affects learning ability and memory, gets smaller, reports Sean Martin at the International Business Times. The more cigarettes smoked per day, the smaller the size of the hippocampus, and the greater the memory performance, according to the research.

The team concluded that the effects of marijuana on the brain aren't usually analyzed with tobacco taken into consideration. The research team was led by Francesca Filbey, director of cognitive neuroscience of addictive behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth.

"Approximately 70 percent of individuals who use marijuana also use tobacco," Filbey said (although I'd question that number). "Our findings exemplify why the effects of marijuana on the brain may not generalize to the vast majority of the marijuana using population, because most studies do not account for tobacco use. This study is one of the first to tease apart the unique effects of each substance on the brain as well as their combined effects.

Texas: Dallas Woman Raises Awareness About 'Cite And Release' Marijuana Law

YvetteGbalazehCiteAndRelease[Fox4News.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Texas has a law allowing law enforcement to write a ticket rather than taking someone to jail for less than two ounces of marijuana, and it's been on the books since 2007 -- but most cops statewide aren't using it.

That's where Yvette Gbalazeh, a graduate of the University of Houston, comes in. Gbalazeh spends her days educating people about the law, reports Shaun Rabb at Fox 4 News.

"Over the past week, I've spoken to 13 out of the 26 chiefs of police for all the cities in [Dallas] County," Gbalazeh said.

Balch Springs, Texas police are now trying the cite and release option.

“You make an arrest on it, then you have to process the marijuana, you have to put it into evidence or into the property room,” said Lt. Mark Maret with the Balch Springs Police Department. “Plus you go back and you have to file the paperwork, your arrest report for our police department, but then you also have to file all the paperwork to file charges though Dallas County.”

The cite and release bill was written by former state Rep. Jerry Madden of Plano back in 2007. "We passed it as a voluntary law," Madden said.

"We knew it would be voluntary and we knew it would take time and we hope it would just gain strength," Madden said. But Texas law enforcement seemed to prefer to keep arresting people for pot rather than just writing them a ticket for it.

U.S.: Company Announces Cannabis Infused Sexual Health, Weight Loss Beverage Line

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The American Seed & Oil Company on Tuesday highlighted plans to expand its existing beverage line to include cannabis infused sexual health, weight loss, and fitness drinks.

The drinks will be marketed nationwide, and will not contain any THC (the main psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis). They will contain hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), which has health benefits but produces no high.

The company currently offers the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot, a CBD drink, for sale online and through retail distribution, and recently disclosed ongoing negotiations to acquire a health beverage company. Management said it anticipates the beverage company acquisition to be completed within 30 to 45 days.

"The American Seed & Oil Company has been in discussions with a Dallas, Texas based health beverage company for almost one year regarding the joint development of a line of cannabis infused drinks," said CEO Steven Rash. "Those discussions evolved to include specific negotiations for the American Seed & Oil Company to acquire the health beverage company.

"Yesterday, the American Seed & Oil Company received an investment commitment supporting the proposed acquisition to include the post acquisition initial focus on introducing hemp infused beverages for sexual health, weight loss and fitness," Rash said.

U.S.: Medical Cannabis Cooperative Announced For Independent Marijuana Cultivators

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The American Seed & Oil Company Medical Cannabis Cooperative, an organization of independent hemp and marijuana cultivation organizations, was announced on Tuesday. The intent of the cooperative is that by working together, cultivators can more rapidly and soundly expand their respective operations.

American Seed & Oil Company is dedicating its previously announced $1.2 million in secured funding to The Medical Cannabis Cooperative.

"American Seed & Oil Company is committed to establishing a leadership position within the developing U.S. legal cannabis industry," said Steven Rash, CEO of Algae International, Inc. and its operating subsidiary, the American Seed & Oil Company. "We believe our investment of time, talent and resources in a Cooperative Cannabis Cultivation strategy will more rapidly expand our revenues and assets than solely investing in the construction of wholly owned cannabis cultivation operations."

"We are already piloting a number of cannabis consumer products; working to develop a number of cannabis commercial products; contributing to the effort to mature and advance legalization nationwide and at the same time investing in the infrastructure to grow and process cannabis," Rash said. "We continue to evaluate and evolve our overall approach toward all these ends.

U.S.: 'Hempster Clothing' To Begin Online Sales April 20; Profits Go To Legalization

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The 'Hempster Clothing' line was introduced on Thursday by Algae International Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiary American Seed & Oil Company.

The company is introducing the first clothing items it plans to start selling through an e-commerce site by April 20. The introduction of the first clothing items will be combined with a campaign to fund efforts to legalize marijuana nationwide.

American Seed & Oil Company will introduce four t-shirts bearing various designs specific to the 'Hempster Clothing' line brand. One hundred percent of the profit from the sales of these first four t-shirts over the course of the next year will be donated to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), an organization dedicated to ending the federal prohibition of marijuana and empowering states to regulate their own marijuana policy.

American Seed & Oil's overall mission is to create a variety of market competitive, environmental conscious, consumer and commercial products utilizing various forms of cannabis. A clothing line was conceived as part of American Seed & Oil Company's original business plan.

Hemp requires half the water and half the land required by cotton to produce equal quantities of fiber for clothing production. While cotton accounts for a major portion of agricultural pesticides, hemp requires no pesticides at all.

Colorado: 9-Year-Old Girl Seizure-Free With Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Some may see medical marijuana as a long shot in Texas, but don't tell that to nine-year-old Alexis Bortell. Alexis plans to be the poster girl who gets medicinal cannabis legalized in the Lone Star State.

"I think it should be legal in Texas because every child should have a normal life," Alexis said, reports Robert Wheeler at NewsFix.

For most of her life, Alexis has had to deal with daily epileptic seizures. Her parents were advised by a specialist and doctors that medicinal cannabis might help. But getting ahold of it was another matter in Texas.

"We've always said if Alexis' health or life was in danger we would leave," said her father, Dean Bortell. After one particularly bad seizure last month, the Bortells reluctantly decided to move to Colorado, where Alexis now has access to the medicine she needs.

The Team Alexis Facebook page shows an amazing transformation. "Since the first dose, she has not had a single symptom or seizure and we're on day 22 now," Dean said.

Alexis' dad said the family hasn't stopped trying to get medical marijuana legalized in Texas. This session, the Texas Legislature has an unprecedented 11 marijuana bills.

Alexis and her family said they would love to come home to Texas, but can't do that without the passage of the House medical marijuana bill they support.

Texas: Telephone Town Hall Will Address Role of Faith Leaders in Legalizing Marijuana

FrederickHaynes[Friendship-WestBaptistChurch]

Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes, Senior Pastor of the 12,000-member congregation, Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, TX and Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele To Hold Telephone Town Hall

Special RSVP-Only Telephone Town Hall Will Allow Press and Public to Pose Their Own Questions

On Thursday, March 12, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm, EST, Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Senior Pastor of Dallas’ Friendship-West Baptist Church and co-founder and leader of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, will join the Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele for a discussion about the role faith communities have to play in ending the Drug War. bandele is expected to discuss marijuana legalization with Rev. Haynes, stigma and how faith communities plan to help re-acclimate tens of thousands of people who are being decarcerated annually.

The quarterly town hall-style calls are designed to ensure that the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs, is bringing before the widest audiences the most influential members in our nation and allowing for an open discussion with those who are on the ground and reforming drug war policies. In short, the calls are meant to host the discussions that the global community is having, and that policymakers in the US need to be having.

Texas: Dallas County To Experiment With Not Arresting People Caught With Weed

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

People caught with small amounts of marijuana in Dallas may soon be able to avoid going to jail.

County criminal justice officials will pilot a cite-and-release program early next year allowing those caught with less than two ounces of marijuana, a Class B misdmeanor, avoid a trip to jail, reports Matthew Watkins at The Dallas Morning News.

If applied countywide, the change in enforcement policy could result in hundreds fewer arrests each month. The goal, according to officials, is to reduce jail crowding and free up police resources.

"This is about not toying up officers and bringing them back out onto the street," said Ron Stretcher, director of criminal justice for Dallas County.

A Texas law enacted back in 2007 makes the ticket approach possible. The measure, which received little attention when it passed, has been largely ignored since.

The the idea has gained support in recent years, and not just from marijuana advocates. Some conservatives have touted it as a way to save law enforcement money. It costs about $63 a day to house an inmate in the Dallas County Jail.

But the measure is getting some predictable resistance from law enforcement. Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston said he'd rather see the Legislature address changes in marijuana laws at the state level; police officers should enforce the laws that are on the books, he said.

Colorado Attracting More Visitors Following Marijuana Legalization; 4/20 Bookings Skyrocket

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The state of Colorado and especially Denver have seen a spike in travel interest and tourism since recreational marijuana sales to adults 21 and older have been legalized, according to data from Hotels.com. Denver has seen a 25 percent increase in hotel searches in the first three months of 2014 compared to 2013, according to the data.

Denver, ranked as the 17th most popular domestic destination for Americans in 2013 according to the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index™, the Mile High City is also expected to see an influx of visitors around April 20, nudge nudge, wink wink. Hotel searches for the weekend of April 18-20, when the city will host a number of organized events and music festivals, have increased by 73 percent compared to the same timeframe last year.

Tourists traveling to Colorado should remember a few basics:

Airport Travel: Cannabis remains on the Transportation Safety Administration's list of prohibited items, and marijuana possession is illegal at most airports in Colorado. Colorado Springs Airport and Aspen/Pitkin County Airport have installed "amnesty boxes" in terminals, where travelers can get rid of any marijuana still in their possession. But Denver International Airport has taken a hard line, banning cannabis possession anywhere on its premises.

Visiting Parks and Federal Landmarks: It is illegal to possess marijuana on federal land, even in Colorado. This includes national parks, national forests, national monuments and ski areas.

Texas: Group Hosts Conference Aimed Towards Ending Marijuana Prohibition

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, held its first ever conference in downtown Fort Worth over the weekend. DFW NORML shared the message that criminal penalties should be removed for private possession and use of cannabis by adults.

"We want to minimize abuse and prevent its availability to kids by implementing age controls," said attorney Keith Stroup, who founded NORML back in 1970, reports CBS DFW. Stroup was one of many speakers at the event which also featured local attorneys, activists, law enforcement officials and former California Superior Court Judge Jim Gray.

Speakers discussed the failure of the Drug War, the cost benefits of cannabis legalization, and the need for allowing compassionate care with medical marijuana.

"The idea that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, that it has no medicinal use, is ludicrous," said Judge Gray, citing drugs like Marinol, a synthetic form of THC created by the pharmaceutical industry and classified as a Schedule III drug, available by prescription.

Gray, who served on the Orange County Superior Court from 1989 to 2009 and spent most of his career dealing with drug-related issues, says he's never used an illegal drug. But he's an outspoken critic of the War On Drugs, and was also the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in the 2012 election.

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