marijuana

Politics
8:13 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Marijuana: A Potential Cash Crop for Texas Farmers?

Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture, Kinky Friedman at the KUT studios.
Mike Lee, KUT

Vanishing salmon and fields trashed by trespassers are the most common agricultural side effects of marijuana growth in California, experts there say. The idea agriculture commissioner candidate Kinky Friedman promotes of a hemp farming utopia brought on by the legalization of marijuana in Texas, they say, might be more pipe dream than reality.

"It is the green thread that weaves its way through all of our lives," Friedman said of marijuana during an interview with The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith. "This is not about long-haired hippies smokin' dope. It is about the future of Texas."

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SXSW 2014
12:33 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

WATCH: Gov. Rick Perry Talks Pot on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' in Austin

Jimmy Kimmel is broadcasting his late night show from Austin the week of South by Southwest.
youtube.com/JimmyKimmelLive

Governor Rick Perry appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.

The talk show has relocated to Austin for the week of South by Southwest. Gov. Perry got a mix of cheers and boos when introduced. He hinted he may run again for president, saying “America is a great place for second chances.”

Perry and Kimmel also talked about efforts towards decriminalizing marijuana.

"For over a decade we’ve lowered the penalties," Perry told Kimmel. "We’re trying to be smart about it. You don’t want to ruin a kid’s life for having a joint.”

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Energy & Environment
10:25 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Is Texas Ready to Get Kinky About Hemp?

"There's nothing in this world more serious than a comedian when he's telling the truth," Kinky Friedman says.
Mike Lee, KUT

From StateImpact Texas:

He's run for office three times and lost. But here he is again, the novelist and troubadour that made a name for himself by turning country clichés into satiric social commentary, running for office. Richard "Kinky" Friedman (he got the nickname for his hair) is running as a Democrat for Agriculture Commissioner, and he has a plan to make Texas "greener." He wants to make hemp and marijuana legal in Texas.

“I’m not a dope smoker, okay?” he says with a point of his trademark unlit cigar. “Except with Willie [Nelson]. More as a Texas etiquette kind of thing.” First, his argument for hemp, which is in the same family as marijuana but in its industrial form doesn’t have the medicinal or recreational uses of marijuana. Friedman argues that if cotton farmers in Texas were allowed to grow hemp instead, the trade-offs would be attractive.

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Texas
6:53 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Which Texas Counties Disproportionately Arrest Blacks for Pot Possession?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/acci0n/7000086/

Fifteen law enforcement agencies across East Texas are facing criticism for arresting African-Americans on marijuana possession charges at rates much higher than whites.

The American Civil Liberties Union says Van Zandt County in particular is among the worst offenders in the nation.  The ACLU of Texas says blacks make up less than three percent of the population in Van Zandt County, but they account for three-quarters of all marijuana possession busts.

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The Lead
9:21 am
Wed March 13, 2013

The Lead: AMD Sale-Lease Deal, Pot Bill Pending, STAAR Test

State lawmakers debated rolling back the STAAR testing requirements for high school graduation.
Jason Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Good morning! Highs in the mid-70’s today bring perfect weather for South By Southwest music fans.

Lead Story: Advanced Micro Devices says it is selling its southwest Austin campus and leasing it back. AMD says it won’t affect operations, but it will free up about $164 million in cash.

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Politics
5:37 am
Tue March 12, 2013

State Lawmakers Consider Reducing Pot Possession Penalty

Flickr/JosephAdams http://www.flickr.com/photos/josephadams/5930714238/

The penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Texas would be reduced under a proposal being examined today by state lawmakers. 

House Bill 184, by State Representative Harold Dutton (D-Houston), would make possession of less than an ounce of pot the equivalent of a traffic violation, a Class C Misdemeanor. And, like a traffic violation, the police officer would issue a fine and let the person go. The fine would be $500, no possibility of jail time. 

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Politics
6:20 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Hemp Gets The Green Light In New Colorado Pot Measure

Hemp products for sale in Washington, D.C., in 2010. The U.S. is the world's largest consumer of hemp products, although growing hemp is illegal under federal law. Colorado recently passed a measure that legalizes growing hemp.
Tim Sloan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 9:13 am

With recreational marijuana now legal in Colorado, small-scale pot shops will open up soon in places like Denver and Boulder. But that's not the only business that could get a boost: Large-scale commercial farmers may also be in line to benefit.

Why? When Colorado voters legalized marijuana last November, they also legalized hemp.

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Politics
12:33 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Will Marijuana Laws in Other States Prompt Change in Texas?

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune / Mateusz Atroszko, Texas Tribune

A veteran lawmaker hopes actions taken by state legislatures in Washington and Colorado will pave the way for Texas policymakers to consider a bill that hasn’t been heard in committee in nearly a decade.

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Drugs
11:44 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Obama: 'We've Got Bigger Fish to Fry' Than Going After Pot Smokers

A woman, identified only as "Hurricane," lights up in Seattle. Washington state's law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana went into effect on Dec. 6.
Cliff Despeaux Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:57 am

It looks like the feds will not be worrying much about those folks who choose to smoke pot in Colorado and Washington state, where new laws decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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Drugs
2:02 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws?

A worker inspects a marijuana plant at a grow house in Denver on Nov. 8.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:54 pm

The Justice Department has a big decision to make.

Parts of new laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana will take effect early next month. The Obama administration needs to choose whether it will sue to stop the legislation or let those states go their own way — even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, says the message he got from voters is unambiguous.

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Drugs
12:26 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Austin Police More Likely To Bust African-Americans For Pot (Updated)

Despite comprising roughly eight percent of Austin's population, African-Americans made up 28 percent of APD's marijuana possession cases since 2009.
flickr.com/esqenzo

Update:  The Texas Civil Rights Project wrote this letter to APD yesterday, requesting an explanation of its disproportionate pot busts within ten business days. Citing the statistics in the story below, project director Jim Harrington writes, “These facts raise serious questions, at least, as to whether APD officers are doing racial profiling or consistently exercising their discretion in favor of whites and against African Americans.”

Original Post (Nov. 10, 1:39 p.m.): Despite Austin’s progressive reputation, smoking marijuana in this city can still get you in trouble with the law. And data from the Austin Police Department shows that is more likely to happen if you are African-American. 

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Drugs
4:15 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Reps. Ron Paul, Barney Frank Ask Obama To Respect Pot Legalization Laws

Fast Eddy Aki'a of Hawaii smokes a joint as thousands of supporters of legalized pot, lit up at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 in Denver, Colorado.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 6:31 am

Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) are asking the White House to respect the voters of Colorado and Washington, who decided that recreational marijuana use should be legal.

In a letter sent to President Obama, they wrote:

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Drugs
9:45 am
Fri November 9, 2012

In Austin, 1 in 4 Pot Busts Doesn’t Lead to Arrest

Austin police have the discretion to ticket - instead of arrest - people for smaller amounts of pot possession.
flickr.com/fiverweed

Voters in Colorado and Washington state elected this week to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In Texas, the drug remains very much illegal. But a state law passed five years ago has resulted in thousands of people in Travis County avoiding arrest when they’re busted with small amounts of pot.

Back in 2007, State Representative Jerry Madden (R-Plano) authored a bill to give police officers the option to cite and release someone caught with less than four ounces of marijuana. 

“The reason for that was to save costs for some of our [police] departments, so that they had more people that would be available on the streets, instead of taking the time to bring very low-level offenders in and book them,” Madden said. “They were going to be released very shortly anyway.”

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Drugs
4:16 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

As Pot Initiatives Pass in Colorado and Washington, Mexico May Reconsider Drug Policy

Could legal U.S. pot – even in a few states – alter U.S.-Mexico relations?
flickr.com/stayfadedphotography

The head of incoming Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's transition team says that Mexico may re-evaluate its policies regarding marijuana export to the United States.

Currently, Mexico works with the United States to discourage the growing of pot within Mexico, and to prevent its shipment across the border to the United States.

But today Luis Videgaray, a top aid to Peña Nieto, characterized votes by Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana use and personal cultivation as a game changer.

The Washington Times reports that in remarks to a Mexico City radio station, Videgaray said that "obviously we can't handle a product that is illegal in Mexico, trying to stop its transfer to the United States, when in the United States, at least in part of the United States, it now has a different status."

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Politics
11:35 am
Wed June 15, 2011

Poll: One-Third of Texans Favor Legalizing Marijuana

Photo by Jaypeg21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/esqenzo/

Thirty-three percent of likely voters and the same percentage of all Texans support legalizing and marijuana, according to a new poll conducted by University of Texas researchers and sponsored by the Texas Lyceum.

“One-third is more support than I would have predicted for it,” pollster and UT-Austin professor Darren Shaw told KUT News. “It either says something about the subtlety of opinion in Texas, or it says something about how significant the budget crunch is now.”

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