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Q&A with Houston NORML

  • by NORML April 8, 2017

    10457838_1496853423881548_3582533077732459054_nNational NORML recently asked Cara Bonin, executive director of Houston NORML, a few questions about their involvement with the recent decision by DA Ogg to decriminalize marijuana in Harris County. Her response became an interview worthy of a blog post in itself. Enjoy!

    NORML: What was Houston NORML’s involvement  if any in the decision by DA Og to decriminalize marijuana in Harris County?
    Cara: Houston NORML has been backing Kim Ogg over the past two district attorney races. Incumbent Devon Anderson was appointed by Governor Rick Perry (R) on September 26, 2013, to succeed her husband, Mike Anderson, who died on August 31, 2013. She naturally became the incumbent in the 2014 race. Kim Ogg immediately made one of her campaign points to discuss marijuana policy reform in Texas. This was such a popular idea that it forced Devon Anderson to then campaign on a similar promise to change the way the county handled misdemeanor marijuana cases. Anderson won the election and implemented a the first chance program which was a very weak version of what Kim Ogg had campaigned on. The program had proven successful and data showed that it was getting results. Despite her loss, Ogg still stayed active in the Houston community, speaking at NORML events and even made it to Austin to testify in favor of decriminalization bills in the Texas house during the 2015 legislative session. Houston NORML supported the Kim Ogg campaign in 2016 and hosted a forum on live television showcasing Ogg’s plan for re-prioritizing marijuana cases in the county. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap-4ylqY9sM
    NORML: Has a decrease in marijuana arrests allowed Houston NORML to focus more on local and state legislation and activism and less on support and legal advice to people being arrested and prosecuted for possession?
    Cara: The program has barely been in place one month. It is a huge relief to know we no longer have to focus on our county. We have the best policy in state thanks to the cooperation of the Harris County sheriff, DA, Houston Police Chief and dozens of other local policing agencies. We are now focusing on getting bills passed in the Texas legislative session.
    NORML: What are some of the new goals and challenges of Houston NORML post decriminalization? What has changed? What hasn’t?
    Cara: We are currently funneling all resources on reforming laws at the state level. Since the program has only been in place one month there are not a lot of statistics to share. Many of the surrounding counties have already spoken out in opposition to Ogg’s program. I live in Katy which is a tri-county city. Waller and Ft Bend county officials wanted to make it clear that it is business as usual when it comes to their arresting policies. A spokesman for the Lt Governor’s office claimed that Houston will become a sanctuary city for drug dealers and illegal immigrants. The Montgomery County DA came out in opposition the day before Ogg even announced the details of her program. They proudly show off their ignorance with such arrogance. It is proof that we still have a lot of work to do locally and state wide to change the opinions of policy makers and enforcers. For more detailed information on the Harris County Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program please visit the following site: https://app.dao.hctx.net/OurOffice/MMDP.aspx. I hope this helps.
    NORML: Yes it does. Thank you Cara and Houston NORML for a job well done! And a special thanks to Corpus Christi NORML for gaining cooperation with Rep. Todd Hunter R-Corpus Christi to support HB81 who chairs the Calendar Committee!
    Texans Take Action:

    For more updates on local reform efforts, follow Houston NORML by visiting their website and on Facebook and Twitter!

    3 Responses to “Q&A with Houston NORML”

    1. Julian says:

      The only thing standing in the way of having an historic House vote on decriminalizing marijuana in the state of Texas are the people, constituents who vote in the districts in the link above whose State Reps sit on the Calendar Committee…
      calling,
      writing and
      visiting
      their state Rep, demanding a House floor vote on HB 81. Whether youre Democrat, Republican or Independent we can leverage our votes any way we want down the ballot. Respectfully use that as leverage with your state Reps.
      If you are from Texas, join http://www.TexasNORML.org and gain links to action. We can do this if we work together.

    2. Julian says:

      And the dominoes fall…

      http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2017/04/texas-decriminalization-cultivated-by-county-and-state/

      Dallas City Council votes today to decriminalize 4oz. or less of weed in Dallas County just like Houston and Harris County did.

    3. Julian says:

      Boy its echoin in here. Oh well, if Justin, Kevin or someone is reading these updates, Houston PD is complaining that they arent getting response time improvement yet because drop boxes for confiscated marijuana aren’t built and installed yet.

      http://www.khou.com/mb/news/hpd-not-impressed-with-da-s-new-marijuana-program/429417787

      Seems like a shallow and impatient argument. Wonder if theyre still asking if the driver is carrying any ca$#?

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