To qualify for Immediate Action, the changes must be:
* Supported clearly by the scientific evidence.
* Supported by a majority of voters in national polls.
* Opposed by political representatives who have refused to vote for change despite these facts.
1. End the use of prison as a punishment for the simple possession of any drug in small amounts consistent with personal use.
The Texas budget is largely carved up between health, education and law enforcement costs. Spending in one area takes money from the others. Within law enforcement, manpower and money devoted to nonviolent crime detracts from the ability to cope with violent crime, a threat to public safety. Disproportionate punishment clogs the criminal justice system, wasting money and lives.
See: Texas Prisons: Out of Control for details.
2. Allow the legal use of cannabis [marijuana] as medicine
America's leading medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, reviewed the federal policy in January of 1997and called it "misguided and inhumane."
The only apparent result of that policy is to deny medicine to the sick and suffering.
See: "Are Texans being denied access to a vital medicine? A scientific assessment of marijuana" for the DPFT booklet which briefly covers the issue.
3. Allow appropriate professionals the freedom to protect their communities from the spread of infectious disease through the use of sterile syringe exchanges
* The American Medical Association formally states, "The need for such programs and modification of laws and regulations is urgent, considering the contribution of injecting drug use to the epidemic of HIV infection." The Texas Medical Association agrees. These programs also are key components in stopping the spread of hepatitis.
Every major scientific study agrees that these programs save lives, save millions of dollars and do not increase drug use. Many addicts have recovered to become contributing members of society, but they can't recover from a coffin.
See: Local Control of Health Care for details.