While speaking during the Texas legislative session, representative Tom Alvin (R) Altruria, dropped something unexpected on the House floor. Upon picking up the item, cameras caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette.
He quickly put it back in his pocket as legislators looked on and then continued to speak. Several DPS officers were on hand but did not seem concerned about Rep. Alvin’s possession of an illegal substance.
Ironically, the bill being discussed pertained to decreasing penalties for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. If passed, the bill would change state law and no longer jail those with small amounts and would instead only require a fine.
Rep. Alvin spoke in opposition to the bill stating “marijuana is a deadly and dangerous drug. It ruins people’s lives and is so addictive that people can become hooked on it just by touching it. We have to keep in mind that allowing any steps towards its legalization will ensure that children have access to this drug. Only by keeping it illegal and imposing tough sentences can we continue to ensure that this plant is no longer consumed by people who should not have it.”
After the session adjourned Rep. Alvin was questioned about the joint he had in his pocket and his remarks made in opposition to the bill.
“Well obviously state legislators enjoy special privileges that other people do not” he stated. As for his stance towards the penalty reduction bill he remarked “times are tough, budgets are tight and we have to make the best use of the state’s money. Having our police focus their time and effort on keeping these dangerous criminals away from society is a major priority, not to mention the jobs we are able to create in the prison and judicial system in general. Without jailing these people, we could be looking at creating more unemployment. It just isn’t economically sound to let these people go with just a ticket. We must have zero tolerance.”
As legislators struggle to tackle budget issues this session, funding to schools has been cut back. Over 800,000 people per year are jailed over possession of cannabis.
By: George M. Spooner
George may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org