Mayor Parker for pot reform

The list of people who think it’s time to talk about reforming our drug laws keeps growing.

Mayor Annise Parker

Mayor Annise Parker

Add Houston Mayor Annise Parker to the growing list of officials calling for a new approach to the nation’s drug laws, especially when it comes to marijuana.

She said as much during an interview this week with community public radio’s Dean Becker, for his Cultural Baggage Radio Show.

“I agree with you that we need a complete rethinking of the nation’s drug laws,” she told Becker, according to a transcript of the show. “We have seen over and over again that outright prohibition doesn’t work. We saw that in the 20’s when the prohibition in this country fueled the rise of organized crime.”

Becker, who broadcasts from KPFT in Houston, has made drug legalization his mission.

An audio clip of the interview is posted on this page.

The story links to this earlier Chron article about Becker’s pro-pot activities. We’ve discussed this before, and it’s worth reiterating that “reform” comes in a variety of flavors here, ranging from issuing citations for drug offenses rather than making arrests (something which has already been authorized by the Legislature but which is not in widespread practice in most Texas jurisdictions) to reducing the classification of offenses for possession of small amounts of pot to a Class C misdemeanor, to various rehab or community service alternatives to legalizing medical marijuana and finally to full-bore Colorado-and-Washington legalization. (As Hair Balls notes, the Marijuana Policy Project has a legislative agenda that includes three options like these.) Because of this, pot reform is not like same sex marriage, where you’re either all in or you’re in the way. There are plenty of places to honorably say “this is as far as I’m willing to go”, at least right now. It’s also hard to know what if anything might be doable in the 2015 Legislature, in part because it’s hard to say right now what the priorities of the leadership will be. That said, one does get a sense of inevitability for change, though the time frame is unknown, and given that one should not want to be the last person hopping aboard the bandwagon. The money people are now sniffing around the possibilities, and you know if anyone has influence with the Legislators, it’s the money people. Be that as it may, I’m glad to see Mayor Parker has arrived on this issue and is looking to be a part of the conversation about where we should be going.

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