The Two Approaches to Cannabis in Southeast Texas

By Gian Cárdenas

Cannabis made the news this month when Harris County’s District Attorney, Kim Ogg, announced the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program would become effective March 1, 2017 in an attempt to use limited office resources to pursue more violent crimes and keep from barring misdemeanor offenders from education, housing and employment opportunities with a criminal record.

On the other hand, this same month the Montgomery County Narcotics Enforcement Team intercepted a package being shipped from Texas through the United States Post Office to the state of Colorado containing $36,000.00. After investigating, it was found that this money was being sent to purchase cannabis, including edibles and oils meant to be distributed and sold in the Montgomery County area.

This led to the arrest of John Philip Simon and a confiscation of $6,600.00, 1.9 pounds of hydroponic cannabis, 2 grams of cannabis wax/shatter, over 200 grams of THC infused edibles, and 2 firearms after a search warrant lead the arrest on the 800 block of Glen Hollow Dr., in Conroe, Texas.

This case highlights not only the complex dynamic of supply and demand between a state where medical and recreational cannabis is legal and one where it is not, but also the exorbitant amount of money that an (as of now) individual can make off of considerably small amounts of cannabis and cannabis-infused products under prohibition, assuming that this was all going to be sold to a large number of people in Montgomery County and its adjacent counties where the product supplied (cannabis) would be sold out before people (demand) came back wanting or needing to purchase more.

Now, while this particular case could be used as an example by critics against policies such as Kim Ogg’s new drug program for Harris County, it could also be used to focus on the need to address the demand for cannabis in areas with a less vocal, visible and perhaps less politically-involved pro-cannabis presence. If this dormant or scattered presence can be tapped into then perhaps there would be a greater push for issues such as a more sensible and comprehensive approach toward cannabis that would help open up the path to more favorable conversations over the legalization of medical and/or recreational cannabis with local political leaders.

 

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