After months of work, Denton County Sheriff Will Travis is showing off his report that will eventually go to state lawmakers urging them not to legalize any marijuana in Texas.
The report titled “”Whoa!!” Texas Sheriffs Say “NO” to Marijuana” is 30 pages long and features statistics and studies Travis compiled on behalf of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas.
“All 254 sheriffs signed off on that,” said Sheriff Travis. “We don’t want it here at all.”
The report presents many potential issues with legalizing marijuana for any use including medicinal.
The sheriff also presents a large amount of data from Colorado and the group Rocky Mountain HIDTA, which has found increases in use and exposure to the substance among kids and teens since legalization talks and execution began there.
“So many different people have come forward and said this is just not a good path we need to be going down,” he said. “We’re basically doing it for our youth.
Our Sheriff’s Association is doing it for our youth. They don’t have a voice.”
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Travis said he knows the report won’t win him any favor among a growing population calling for legalization; he said he’s already heard from many in opposition.
Members of DFW NORML, a major advocacy group in favor of legislating marijuana use, said they are very aware of the sheriff’s report and are already writing their rebuttal to present to the legislature.
“It’s easy for someone who has a background as a DEA agent to support prohibition; that’s what these guys are trained to do,” said Deputy Director for DFW NORML Tristan Tucker. “He’s not seeing these kids that are having 300 seizures a month that are being able to be reduced down to one or two a week.”
Tucker, an injured naval veteran, said he’s seen first-hand the positive effects of medicinal marijuana for returning servicemen and women dealing with issues like PTSD and other injuries. Plus, the group points to economic benefits the state could potentially see from legalization.
“To continue these policies in Texas is not good for our citizens, it’s not good for our state, it’s not good for our economy,” he said.
Tucker believes the public opinion on marijuana is fast shifting to his side.
Travis, on the other hand, isn’t sold.
The sheriff said he’s not sure if legalization will be inevitable, but said law enforcement will continue to fight it, especially in Texas where he said we lead and don’t follow.
“We’re going to come in there and show them a little bit different take on it,” said Travis. “I think we won’t be going down this route, this path, and I sure hope we don’t because it’s just going to be devastating for us as a state.”
Both sides are also keeping a close eye on Colorado as first year numbers slowly come out from their legalization of recreational marijuana. Travis hopes to add those stats to the report before he formally presents it to the legislature.