texas department of public safety

Texas: 3 Men Face Life For Pot Edibles; Harsh Policy Creates Local Outcry

PotBrownies

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Three Texas men arrested in recent weeks are facing the possibility of life in prison after being caught with small amounts of edible marijuana products, and that has resulted in an outcry from some residents of Amarillo who say that's just too harsh.

Potter County deputies busted Eli Manna, 30, and Andrew George, 27, after stopping them for a traffic violation on March 16, reports JC Cortez at the Amarillo Globe-News. A search of the vehicle yielded seven purple brownies weighing a total of 650 grams, which triggered the most severe punishment range for marijuana possession under Texas law.

More than 400 grams means 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Texas law nonsensically considers the weight of the infused food rather than just its marijuana content when calculating sentencing. According to the law, "adulterants and diluents" are to be considered part of the total volume of controlled substances, which makes absolutely no sense when it comes to cannabis edibles.

Just 10 days later, troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety arrested Fernando Bejarano, 19, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, after stopping him for a traffic violation. Troopers found more than 800 grams of commercially packaged baked goods and candies containing THC, the principal psychoactive ingredient of cannabis.

Texas: Trooper Ordered Into Counseling After Being Photographed With Snoop Dogg

SnoopDoggAndTexasTrooperBillySpears[Instagram]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Texas state trooper has been reprimanded and forced to undergo "counseling" after being photographed with music legend Snoop Dogg.

Trooper Billy Spears, who was pictured in uniform beside the rapper at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, is now fighting back, according to his lawyer, arguing that while he agreed to be photographed, he didn't realized the famed rapper had marijuana convictions, or that they'd affect him, reports Nina Golgowski at the New York Daily News.

"Martha Stewart, she's a convicted felon," said Spears' attorney, Ty Clevenger. "What about Randy Travis? He's had run-ins with the law."

Snoop Dogg posted the photo, taken last month, on Instagram after apparently requesting the photo himself while serving as the keynote speaker at SXSW. Spears' superiors in the department eventually saw the photo, that didn't identify Spears or the department by name, and were not amused.

"Me n my deputy dogg," Snoop captioned the shot on Instagram.

"While working a secondary employment job, Trooper Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges," reads the counseling reprimand, obtained by The Daily News. "The public figure posted the photo on social media and it reflects poorly on the Agency."

Texas: Traffic Stop Could Get Two Men Life In Prison For Marijuana Brownies

TexasLifeInPrisonForPotBrownies[Amarillo.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two Texas men could be facing life in prison after a marijuana-infused brownies were discovered during a traffic stop Monday afternoon.

Potter County sheriff's deputies arrested Eli McCarthy Manna, 30, and Andrew Bruce George, 27, after pulling them over on a traffic violation on I-40 west of Amarillo, according to authorities, reports JC Cortez at Amarillo.com.

A deputy got suspicious during the stop and asked for permission to search the vehicle, which was denied, according to authorities. Deputies detained the men and asked for the help of a police dog from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The dog alerted them to the presence of "drugs" in the vehicle, the deputies claimed, giving them probable cause to search it.

The search revealed more than 650 grams of marijuana brownies in plastic bags, along with a small amount of raw marijuana, according to authorities.

Deputies booked the men into Potter County Jail, charging them with possession of a controlled substance, more than 400 grams. Under the idiotic practice of charging defendants for the weight of a carrier as well as the marijuana itself, they are being charged for the full weight of the brownies.

If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

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

DallasMarijuanaMarch10-18-14

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.

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