Pushers I have known The lowest form of human life are those who would sell marijuana. They are the Cosa Nastra. They are the Mafia. State Rep. Joe Salem, 1971 Austin Cleve Hattersley, 25 years old, began serving a seven-year sentence in Huntsville State Prison Feb. 20. He was arrested in the Austin airport with 14 pounds of marijuana in September of 1970. A slimy, evil pusher. Cleve, big, beautiful, exuberant, didn’t let the bust get him down. Two months later he and Pat Pankratz founded Greezy Wheels, a country cowfreak band. It came to include Sweet Mary playing the most impressive fiddle in town; Pat on guitar; Cleve singing and bantering with the audience between numbers; Rux on banjo; Mike on bass; Tony on drums; and Cleve’s sister Lisa helping with the vocals. Greezy plays a happy blend of standards like “Fraulein” and “Jambalaya” and “May the Circle Be Unbroken,” along with original tunes like “Cocaine, Country Music and Good ’01 Lone Star Beer,” “Rodeo Inn” and “Your Love is Like a Six Pack No Deposit, No Return.” “Cleve’s role was more or less to keep everybody together. He’s the strongest cat I’ve ever known,” said Carlotta Pankratz, Pat’s wife, “When everybody was feeling down, Cleve would keep them up. Before and after performances he’d be making sure everything was together, that everybody was happy.” BY THE TIME Cleve went to jail, Greezy was one of the most popular bands in Austin. It had nibbles frbm a passel of record companies Epic, Vanguard, Atlantic and Capitol. The band was ripe. And then Cleve was sent to the clink. “The minute he found out he was going to jail, he started making the band practice eight hours a day, making them learn how to get along without him,” Carlotta said. Now, with Cleve gone, the band is still doing nightly gigs, “trying to get the sound full again.” The musicians think they’ll make it okay until Cleve comes back, which, with good luck and good behavior, could be in about a year and a half. Maybe the record companies will still be interested, maybe not. Meanwhile Cleve’s wife Nancy, who gave birth to their second child, Happy, ten days after Cleve departed for prison, will be surviving on welfare. Cleve was in relatively good spirits before he left for Huntsville. “The I Ching says meet these people halfway. The halfway that I meet them is the total way they want me to perform while I’m there. The halfway I have to myself is to try to fit 18 The Texas Observer Reflections Photo from The Rip Off Review, June-July, 1972. my protest in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with what they want,” he said. He was trying desperately to find a nugget of meaning in the experience. “In a way, I’m looking forward to it as sort of a challenge,” he said. But there’s nothing positive to be gotten out of a marijuana sentence. Cleve doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. He just had the bad luck to get caught. “I got busted two and a half years too early,” he said. “Now the judge is giving probation.” What a difference a year makes. Cleve was sentenced to seven years by Judge Mace D. Thurman of Austin in 1971. About the same time Cleve was going to trial, a pair of pushers was caught with 60 pounds of marijuana in an Austin apartment. It was their first big grass deal. They thought it would be a quick, easy way to make some much-needed cash, but one of their partners turned out to be an informer. Louise didn’t have much to worry about since little Nathan was less than a year old at the time of their bust. Mothers of small children rarely go to jail in marijuana cases. Her husband Duane cut his hair and promised Judge Thurman that he would take his family back to Midland and work for his father’s janitorial service. The Midland chief of police acted as a character witness. Duane and Louise got five years probation. They don’t feel like they did anything wrong, just something very stupid. Duane and Louise and Cleve are three of the pushers we are hearing so much about in the Texas Legislature. The prevailing attitude seems to be that marijuana “experimenters” \(the innocent children of cruelties of the penal system, while pushers, a different breed entirely, should be exiled to the innermost circles of hell. IT APPEARS that a majority of legislators finally are willing to accept the proposition that marijuana is no worse and possibly quite a bit less harmful than tobacco and alcohol. To date, no one has appeared at either a House or Senate hearing on drug legislation to defend the present harsh sanctions against smoking grass. One of the witnesses for Governor Briscoe’s bill, Dr. Earnest Barnett of the UT medical school, did say that his research indicates that chronic use may lead to amotivational behavior. He said marijuana users seem to have a significant decrease in one of the four stages of sleep. Missing this sleep stage could lead to hypoactive behavior, Dr. Barnett believes. \(His research is contradicted by Drs. Joel Simon Hochman and Norman Q. Brill of UCLA, who report that a random selection of middleand upper-class youth who use marijuana seemed to be as well motivated Even if chronic use of marijuana does cause some people to shift from overdrive to neutral, that fact is insufficient grounds for banishing marijuana from this drugdependent society. We know cigarette smoking can cause cancer. We know alcohol can do all sorts of unpleasant things to one’s body, for example, severely impairing the nervous system \(including, Not only is it legal to possess these addictive, sometimes fatal drugs, their sale is legal and the possession of their paraphernalia \(martini shakers, jiggers, is legal as well. The State of Texas, in its wisdom, does not attempt to control the private use of booze and cigarettes. It does put some control on their sale and public consumption. The state seems about ready to make first possession of marijuana a misdemeanor or even to decriminalize its use, while saying at the same time that it is a serious crime to sell the stuff. That’s like saying it’s perfectly acceptable for you to smoke, but your friendly clerk-pusher at the Seven-Eleven is going to go to the pen
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