*IX feeling is that as a sponsor I will have a better chance to correct portions that I between the premises and the proposed those 18 months of research and the governor’s staff did not. The first product of their work was Marijuana in Texas, a report to the committee by its legal counsel and research director which detailed the patterns of marijuana use, and the cruel failures of its prohibition, in Texas. The final report is much broader in scope: it does, after all, provide the underpinning for a “comprehensive revision of our drug laws.” It deals not only with the criminal penalties for possession of marijuana, not only with criminal and regulatory law for drugs in general, but with state policy on drug abuse in a drug using society. In the committee’s view, “Drug use can occur on an experimental, casual or regular basis; by `drug abuse’ we mean the use of a drug in such a manner as to interfere with the economic, social, psychological or physical well-being of the user. In the past, we have tended to view the use of any illicit drug as automatically entailing ‘abuse’ of that drug. Similarly, we have often failed to recognize that certain persons use licit drugs in a manner which can only be described as drug abuse as witness the example of the alcoholic. Our criminal penalties and our treatment institutions should be primarily concerned with the problems of the abuser, not the casual user” [their italics]. From there, the report goes on to discuss drug treatment, education and research. The section on treatment and rehabilitation emphasizes the inclusion of drugs other than heroin in the scope of treatment available mentioning specifically barbiturates \(Texas law requires doctors to force abstinence on barbiturate addicts, risking the patients’ recommendations for confidentiality of patient records, continuing evaluation and coordination of treatment programs and increased funding. Mostly, though, it dwells on the possibilities and liabilities of methadone maintenance. The people who wrote this report took the trouble to find out to what extent methadone is known to work, in medical, social and psychological terms. They conclude that the State of Texas should encourage methadone maintenance programs, but that it should do so with its eyes open. Most important, it stresses that methadone should be available for the choice of addicts, and that it should be available where the addict lives. WHAT CAN the report say about drug education at present? The TEA is directed to develop teaching materials on “the dangers of crime and narcotics.” The TEA in turn proposes to insure that its pupils “have information . . . that will enable them to make rational decisions” about drug use, that they “have skills .. . in order to better cope with a changing milieu” and that they “have leadership traits.” The pupils in turn don’t bother to ask schools or the TEA about drugs. The committee recommends that the emphasis of education programs be shifted from blanket-information to identification and counseling of “high-risk potential abusers.” The section on research says the inevitable more research, please. Until the last page, where there is one more reminder of the care the committee took to at least discover the existence of non-DPS perspectives on drugs: “There is every reason to believe that the year 1990 or 2000 will see an increased tendency for persons to pursue altered states of consciousness. Whether or not one regards this trend as desirable is not particularly germane. The problem is that so long as our present drug research is conducted on the premise that this quest cannot have positive ends for society, we are helping to insure that it will not.” The section on criminal and regulatory law follows the committee’s draft legislation. S.B. 240 attempts to regulate the distribution of “controlled substances” in licit channels as well as policing their illicit circulation and use. It requires the registration of all persons who deal legitimately in drugs, from manufacturers to pharmacists and doctors; it provides for centralization of records on the movement of drugs. A Texas Drug Abuse Authority is established to administer the regulation process, to be headed by an appointed commissioner \(and eventually to function as a consolidation of many present agencies offices and records of registrants is permitted and detailed procedures for obtaining inspection warrants are set out. The bill contains two different systems of drug classification. For regulatory purposes, drugs are grouped according to their potential for abuse, their medical value and the severity of dependence they induce. For criminal provisions, they are sorted into five new categories: heroin; amphetamines, opiates and cocaine; barbiturates and hallucinogens; marijuana; and tranquilizers. Simple possession of any of these drugs except marijuana and heroin would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of $1,000. Possession of heroin would be a felony under the bill as introduced \(the committee report recommends a misdemeanor penalty: Brooks, the Senate two years to life for possession, as well as for manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to sell. The private use of marijuana by adults is decriminalized; misdemeanor penalties apply to cultivation, possession of 3 oz. or less with intent to sell, public consumption and possession by minors \(who could be fined or given work assignments but not ounces with intent to sell and any transfer to a minor would all be felonies \(up to The bill has special provisions for large-scale continuing heroin traffickers. Mr; Big, as they say, will be off the streets for ten to life \(twice that for second will forfeit all property involved in the enterprise, as well as all profits. S.B. 240 provides a form of probation for first offenders \(mandatory in the case of first-offense marijuana possessiori by a expunction of criminal record in certain cases, including those of persons who have already served their sentences for violation of the present marijuana law. Current drug-offense prisoners with only one conviction could obtain resentencing or release. And any misdemeanor penalty can be replaced with up to two years in rehabilitation at a drug treatment or mental health center. BRISCOE’S ‘STAFF has come up with a very different approach. The criminal penalties are uniformly harsher. Possession of heroin, amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, hallucinogens or a hypodermic needle could get you two to 20 years, first offense. Manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver those drugs would be punishable by 16 years to life. Possession of barbiturates would make you liable for two to ten; intending to deliver them would make it two to twenty. Simple possession of less than eight ounces of marijuana would bp a misdemeanor worth no more than $2,000 or a year in jail. First offense, that is: after that it’s right back to the pen, two to ten. More than eight ounces is presumptive evidence of intent to deliver \(you do get a two to twenty. Delivery not sale, delivery of any amount of marijuana is a felony, punishable by two to twenty years. The same amount delivered to a minor is good for 16 years to life. “Maintaining a building resorted to by persons .using controlled substances,” which means letting someone smoke at your house, is a felony punishable by two to ten years. Kennard leaned on these differences in a press conference called to release his committee’s final report and draft legislation. He called the governor’s staff’s bill “a publicity stunt to give the illusion of marijuana reform while it raises the penalties for simple possession of other drugs to ridiculous heights and turns over the bulk of our drug control effort to the police.” But penalties weren’t all that bothered him about the bill. He pointed out that S.B. 212 has no provisions for expunction of criminal records, no provision for resentencing, no provision for diverting March 2, 1973 7
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