Marijuana Legalization Campaign Launched in Texas

The Marijuana Policy Project, credited with helping fund the successful legalization campaigns in both Colorado and Washington, has now launched a similar effort in the state of Texas. While most officials in the state think decriminalization will be the first step—potentially long before legalization—the Marijuana Policy Project is pushing hard to make the latter happen sooner rather than later. [Read more...]

photo by: Coleen Danger

Texas Moving Towards Marijuana Reform

While the rest of the country seems to be addressing marijuana prohibition with relatively swift action (as swift as law changes can be), Texas’ conservative and hardline criminal justice attitude have, until recently, largely kept any weakening of marijuana laws as a long shot.

Yet recent polling shows support for Colorado-style legalization as high as 58% among Texas citizens. But as citizens in all states increasingly support relaxed pot laws, even lawmakers in the Lone Star State are having to rethink their stances, albeit begrudgingly.

In January, a few lawmakers surprised Texans with statements that reflected a possible change in attitude towards marijuana reform. [Read more...]

Kratom: Another Designer Drug to Criminalize?

Over the past several years, we’ve seen many products labeled as “designer drugs”. Things like K2, Bath Salts, and Spice have all made their way across the country, enjoying some time in the media spotlight. Each one of these substances has then been labeled a dangerous drug and criminalized. Now, according to a report from CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, there’s a new drug to add to the list.

Kratom is a substance you can apparently find at local smoke shops. It’s a liquid derived from a leafy tree in Thailand. Already illegal in that country, Kratom is considered an herbal remedy for pain and an alternative to opium. [Read more...]

Majority of Texans Support Marijuana Law Changes, Legalization

Texas is one of several that are pushing for significant changes up to and including the legalization of recreational marijuana. The nationwide trend continues with states all across the country are changing the way they deal with marijuana crimes, and Texas is no exception to recognizing the senselessness of criminalizing weed.

A recent poll from the Marijuana Policy Project indicates well over half of Texas voters support legalizing and regulating pot like we currently do alcohol. [Read more...]

Dallas Feels Heat for School to Prison Pipeline

The “school to prison pipeline” has become a popular phrase lately, but it isn’t just a hot tagline devoid of meaning. Kids who are criminalized at a young age are far more likely to be a fixture in the criminal justice system when they get older. This “pipeline” from school to prison is no more apparent than in Dallas Public Schools, where the Dallas County truancy courts prosecuted 36,000 cases last year alone. It’s this practice—of cuffing, prosecuting, and fining kids at an alarming rate—that has Dallas facing a potential civil rights lawsuit. [Read more...]

When a Theft Carries 50 Years in Prison

There’s no arguing that some crimes are more serious than others. Obviously, in a just situation, someone accused of rape, for instance, will be punished more severely than someone charged with a drug offense. But as this nation’s War on Drugs illustrates, that isn’t always the case. Even when it comes to non-drug offenses, there are instances where a punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime. A recent example comes to us from Waco. [Read more...]

Houston Police Make Mental Health Improvements

In 2007, change swept the Houston Police Department and the way they handled the mentally ill. Change came after two people with schizophrenia were shot and killed by police only two months apart. In the past 5 years, the changes that were made have proven effective—effective in getting the mentally ill the help they need and improving police relations with them. Houston’s efforts are being held up as an example across the country and they certainly deserve it. [Read more...]

TX Federal Judge Makes Fiery, Discriminatory Comments

Federal Judge Edith Jones is facing ethics complaints after a speaking engagement in which she said, among other things, that racial minorities are “more violent” than whites and that claims of racial bias in death penalty cases are usually nothing more than “red herrings”. The judge, who sits on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes TX jurisdiction) is said to have violated several canons in the code of conduct for federal judges. [Read more...]

Bill to Require Prosecutor Evidence Training

When you are facing criminal charges, the case against you  likely contains details that are crucial to you building a successful defense. In other words, you can’t prepare for battle without knowing what the other side is armed with. Governor Rick Perry now has a chance to sign a bill that would make it easier for you to know the prosecutor’s hand—a bill that is crucial in preventing wrongful convictions and even prosecutor misconduct. [Read more...]