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Weed Watch

After lobbying delegates, fielding questions, and asking for a floor vote, the Texas League of Women Voters during their annual convention April 16-18 voted to conduct a two-year study of the state's drug policies. Two Texas LWV members and drug reform advocates – Austinite Noelle Davis, executive director of the newly formed Texans for Medical Marijuana, and Dallas chapter member Suzanne Wills, also with the Drug Policy Forum of Texas – successfully championed the motion, which calls on the LWV to evaluate the state's current drug laws and the effects the laws might have on "young people, communities of color, and medical care and public health." The study also calls for an evaluation of the "social and economic costs of relying on prohibition, law enforcement, and imprisonment to solve problems related to drugs." According to the Drug Reform Coordination Network, Wills said that she and Davis argued that a drug policy study could help the graying LWV attract younger members. "[T]his could be an issue that does that," Wills said.

In other drug news, the Drug Enforcement Administration's request that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals revisit its decision earlier this year to toss out the DEA's hemp-food ban proposal was denied last week. The DEA filed its request for a hearing a day late, and the court denied the agency's request to file late. (For more on the hemp food fight, see "Please Don't Eat the Hemp," April 11, 2003.) The DEA isn't giving up quite yet and has filed an appeal of the denial.

On April 22, the Marijuana Policy Project filed a motion with the Nevada Supreme Court, asking the court to force U.S. drug czar John Walters to provide an accounting of all taxpayer money he spent during travels in Nevada in an attempt to defeat a 2002 ballot initiative that would have decriminalized marijuana possession and provided for the drug's legal sale. According to the MPP, Walters' Silver State stumping was a clear violation of the 1939 Hatch Act, which regulates the political activities of government officials and employees. The MPP called for Walters' ouster and then asked the Nevada secretary of state to force Walters to comply with the state's election expenditure reporting requirements. Walters refused, sending the SOS to the state's attorney general for an opinion on the matter. In April 2003, the AG reprimanded Walters for his "disturbing" interference in the state vote, but concluded that a court would "likely" find Walters immune from Nevada's campaign finance laws. The MPP is now challenging that decision, which, they argue, is not based on any legal precedent. The MPP is now asking that the state's high court step into the fray and order Walters to file campaign reports in accordance with Nevada law. "Asking the drug czar to file campaign finance reports after campaigning in the state is no different from requiring U.S. Postal Service employees to obey state and local traffic laws while delivering the mail," MPP executive director Rob Kampia wrote in a press release.

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Will Texas Do Better?
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Jordan Smith, Dec. 7, 2012

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

drugs, Noelle Davis, Suzanne Wills, League of Women Voters Texas, drug policy, drug policy reform, Drug Enforcement Administration, hemp food, Drug Reform Coordination Network, Marijuana Policy Project, Rob Kampia, John Walters

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