Will the feds' new stance on medicinal marijuana have any impact on local users, even though, sadly, Texas isn't among the states that permit the practice? Craig Watkins's office says no way, no how. Local Libertarians, not surprisingly, are crossing their fingers. (As opposed to ...)
"The federal policy shift won't impact the way we evaluate or prosecute cases here," says Kevin Brooks, felony trial bureau chief in the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. "I've never seen a circumstance where people have been caught with a small amount of marijuana and say they're using it for medicinal purposes. If there was a doctor prescribing it or telling them to use it, I'm not saying we wouldn't have any compassion for that, but we'd still have to evaluate it the way we would evaluate any other case -- based on the merits."
Paul Petersen, the chairman of the Dallas County Libertarian Party, would love to see that change. The memo sent to federal prosecutors earlier this week, Petersen tells Unfair Park, is "an example of the pendulum moving back in the direction of individual freedom and responsibility" and "a nice, small step in the right direction."
He agrees Texas seems like one of the last states that would leap onto the medicinal pot bandwagon, but he says that if more states pass laws permitting medicinal use, Texas might eventually do the same. In the meantime, he hopes the new national tide might make waves here anyway.
"We don't have the medical marijuana law here, but I would think it would make a career-oriented prosecutor think twice about where they're spending their time," Petersen says. "It might cause them to see marijuana-related cases as less popular than before."