High time for a change

Administration to tighten enforcement of recreational marijuana use

Today, the Trump Administration announced that it would take steps to tighten enforcement of marijuana laws; the focus is legal recreational marijuana use.  Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and wonder what on earth they’re thinking.  Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney General, announced that the federal government was going to revert back to its old policy of cracking down on states that legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Legal recreational marijuana use is a growing trend

Cannabis sativa
Cannabis sativa

Eight states (soon to be nine) and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use.  Twenty-nine states have legalized it for medical use. See State Marijuana Laws in 2017 (Governing Magazine) and Marijuana Legalization in 2018 (Newsweek).

Additional states will legalize recreational marijuana use. Time predicts that 18 states will legalize recreational use by 2020.

Such enforcement benefits no one

Forget about the Trump Administration’s claims about the importance of states’ rights.  And pay no attention the fact that there are no cases of fatal marijuana overdoses, or that legalization eliminates the black market and crime, or that research shows that states with legal recreational marijuana have a new tax revenue stream that helps fund schools, educational programs, and law enforcement.  Or that the policy that Sessions wants to bring back has wrecked the lives of many people while imposing a burden on the taxpayer through enforcement and incarceration costs that benefit no one. Enforcement, that is, criminalizing legal recreational marijuana use, benefits no one.

It’s time for a new approach

Rather than reverting to failed drug-war policies, Sessions and the Trump Administration should be taking an approach that promotes proper and careful integration of the emerging recreational marijuana business, such as modifying the federal laws to allow the businesses access to the commercial banking system and establishing a regulatory system that keeps marijuana out of the hands of children and away from places where intoxication can be dangerous, such as while driving.

You can help to make a difference

Attacks on you and me will continue until we make changes in DC.  You can do something about it by contributing $5, $25 or $50 right now.

Hurricane Harvey’s impact forces us to think about how we rebuild better, stronger, and smarter

Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey, 25 August 2017, Credit: NASA

Hurricane Harvey’s devastation left me speechless

There was a point over this last week when I was speechless: the rain, the damage, the rescues, the deaths in Houston, Port Arthur, Orange and Beaumont, not to mention the chemical plant explosion in Crosby.

If you got emotional, I understand. I did too.



The impact of Harvey forces us to think about how we rebuild better, stronger, and smarter.


Cities large and small require assistance—quickly—to meet basic needs

The President will be in Houston on Saturday and I expect him to show empathy for Texans and give us a concrete timetable for when resources from DC will start to arrive. We need billions of dollars to rebuild our communities—and not just the big cities. There are portions of our area that still don’t have the basics of living—clean water and sewage systems and communications systems, for example, more than 12 years after Hurricane Rita.

It is time to hold our elected representatives accountable

We want a swift and substantial Hurricane Harvey recovery bill passed immediately; it should be the first thing Congress does when it reconvenes in September.  Anything else will be an insult to everything we have dealt with over the past week, and the weeks and months to come.  We need to mitigate loss, and we need to rebuild with an emphasis on the future.

Rebuild to protect our communities and our economy

I am an environmental consultant by trade; a scientist by training. There are things we can do in the rebuilding that will protect our communities, help us meet the challenges of the 21st century, and put people to work.  That’s what I will do when I represent you in Congress.

Thinking of all those whose lives have been turned upside down by Harvey.

I had an important letter to the editor published in the Orange Leader before the storm.  Check it out if you have a moment.

“Ike Dike” would protect Texas Coast, Communities, Lives and Economy

The predicted approach of Tropical Storm Harvey reminds us on the Gulf Coast that it’s not if, it’s when a hurricane will hit.  Our region is hit by a major hurricane about every 15 years. Many of us have lived through and recovered from Alicia, Allison, Rita, Katrina, and Ike.  Hurricane Ike alone caused $30 billion in damage and killed more than 100 people.

Engineers at Texas A&M and Rice University have designed storm surge protection that would protect the southeast Texas coast from damage and loss of life.  The proposed cost is $12 billion – a bargain compared to the cost a Katrina-like hurricane would result in: losses to the Texas economy of $73 billion in gross product and 863,000 jobs.

Construction of the “Ike Dike” would bring good-paying jobs to the area, and a sense of pride that we are working to protect our community.

As we prepare for a potential hit from Harvey, I urge you to contact your representatives and tell them that it’s time to protect the Texas coast, our community, our lives, and the economy from these predictable natural disasters.

Let’s hope that Harvey is a non-event.

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