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TX Officer Speaks In Support of Legalization of Marijuana

TX Officer Speaks In Support of Legalization of Marijuana

Dallas Morning News via YellowBrix

November 15, 2010

FORT WORTH – About 15 people slipped behind a partitioned-off section of a downtown Fort Worth restaurant Sunday morning to hear Dallas police Officer Nick Novello and others support the legalization of marijuana.

“The war on drugs today has left carnage,” Novello said.

The seminar’s host, Medcan University, a for-profit business, is trying to build a coalition of residents in favor of legalizing marijuana use for the critically or chronically ill in Texas. The seminars, held periodically throughout Texas, cover the politics, laws and science behind the medical marijuana movement.

“We are trying to educate people,” Medcan owner and organizer Dante Picazo said.

Novello, 56, is a 29-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department and spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, a group of current and former law enforcement members who say that existing drug policies have failed. At Sunday’s seminar, he declared his own drug war – for legalization of marijuana and other narcotics.

“Full legalization and full regulation,” Novello said.

Novello said he joined the Dallas Police Department as a park and recreation officer. In 2007, he transitioned to a “beat cop” patrolling East Dallas neighborhoods. He said he has no intention of climbing the ranks.

Picazo acknowledged that the medical marijuana issue is controversial and asked The Dallas Morning News not to name the restaurant where the seminar was held. Still, he said marijuana legalization for medical patients has the potential to generate millions and possibly, billions of dollars in tax revenue for local governments and Texas.

“We could have kids swimming in pools in the summer instead of leaving them to the drug dealers,” Picazo said, referring to some city pools in Dallas that remained closed this summer because of budget cuts.

Most political observers predict a bill to legalize medicinal marijuana would have little or no support in the Texas Legislature, which convenes in January.

This month, voters in Arizona approved a ballot proposition calling for medical marijuana legalization. Fourteen other states have legalized medical marijuana.

Those at the seminar, who paid $250 to attend, sat around a horseshoe-shaped table and hung on Novello’s every word as he spoke Sunday morning. He said legalization of narcotics could stop the destruction of individual lives needlessly ruined by unnecessary criminal convictions.

He added he would not use marijuana and wouldn’t want his kids to use it. But criminalizing the drug invites people to break the law, he said. People arrested for drugs often never escape the “criminal” label and find their lives ruined, he said.

“We can survive addiction, but not conviction,” Novello said.

Legalization, he said, also will stop the drug cartel and gangs from controlling the drug market.

“I don’t have all the answers for the war on drugs,” Novello said. “[But] gangs and drug cartel control all narcotics by default.”

Anti-legalization forces, however, insist that any message allowing drug use will only cause more health problems for users and more crime problems for society.

Dallas lawyer Brian Cuban, brother of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, also spoke on the legal ramifications of legalizing medical marijuana, which he favors.

“Legalizing one aspect [of the drug] isn’t going to change availability for people who are going to get it [if they want it],” Cuban said. “It’s not about the plant; it’s about how the kid is raised.”

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    9 months ago


    Hello, we don't know each other but I was curious about how the regular cop working the streets felt about all this talk of legalizing cannabis in Texas and in general with other states. I personally don't think Texas will change the laws, still too many old reffer maddness people who don't even want to talk about it at all. Anyway I would thank you for speaking out against the way out laws against cannabis possession for 1oz. or less people 21 and over. I also think the government should start testing it to try to find out if their are any bad side effects we don't know about it. Thanks for you time and efforts with us regular people. Hey I also want to tell you and your fellow officers stay safe and thank you for all you do"not the part where you bust us" ha ha ha.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    I don't think he'll be able to make a difference, the drug is illegal for a reason and making it legal is not a guarantee that all the marijuana related problems will go away. Cannabis will continue to grow in popularity because it's a light drugs, in fact, that's what makes it dangerous, it's a gateway drug and this drug rehab Texas resource confirms it.

  • P1030380_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Baker act this guy.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Law enforcement who are interested in joining the growing number of cops, judges, prosecutors and other drug warriors calling for a end to the war on drugs (or if you just want to talk about it), please contact me at "speakers at leap dot cc". You can also check out our web site at

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    People use alcohol and think they can drive, be smart, be cute, whatever, yeah right. So doctors will keep on prescribing even to patients who don't really need it, or as much as they get pescribed-methadone, oxycontin, etc. etc., think they can drive, etc. etc. Your point? People who do cocaine, crack, heroin. And one hell of the majority who do all these, legal or not, all the sudden become the unintelligent authority on marijuana. In all my years, I haven't seen a drunk ass, or a high on legal drugs, or illegal drugs, person who I would rather be around, than someone under the influence of marijuana.
    Alcohol and cigarettes cause more deaths than marijuana ever could, but I guess that's okay, because they're 'legal?' Warped & wrong. People who use marijuana for medicinal purposes are not just 'pot heads' as of your way of thinking. They have very real reasons why marijuana is helpful for them whereas the 'legal' prescription makes them nauseous, sick (they already have ailments or are sick !) unable to eat, etc. When did people (not all) stop caring about people's lives, health, their well being, and choose instead to back Big Pharma and those elites who started and still keep up the propoganda of marijuana? When will the BS of sending someone to jail or prison for marijuana stop, and the cause-casualties alcoholics, molesters, rapists, stop getting a slap on the wrist (as all to often happens), and then a pat on the back ,sorry we had to arrest you attitude, as per the light sentences? Backwards, backwards.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    i think that marijuana should be legalized and de-criminalized. it is a plant that has helped to build this country. the constitution is writen on hemp paper and was the number one export of this country for many many years... its time to stop wasteing time,money and effort fighting marijuana. with government control and tax maybe we can begin to dig this country out of debt. americans spend more than 13 billion dollars a year on it now, isnt it time we take that money away from the criminals and use it to feed and house the homeless? or some other more worthy goal?

  • 1979_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Thank you closter for your objective opinion. As I have said every time, and many times in the past. the use or possession of pot if illegal and you will and should be arrested for it given the current laws. No LEO should while in uniform or while using his status of a LEO openly make any statements for legalization or encourage the use of pot, period. For the sake of discussion only I have given my opinion that we do need to try and change the laws against this particular drug because of it's expense of enforcing and the results of a drug arrest on some people. I also do not advocate it's use, never have and unless medical research proves it's legitimate use, never will. I have not used pot and even if legal would not use it.I just think we would be better off regulating it after making it legal to use and possess for personal use or retail sale, much like alcohol. Enforce and strengthen DUI's and people under the influence while operating machinery.

  • Fake_sunset_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    "He added he would not use marijuana and wouldn’t want his kids to use it. But criminalizing the drug invites people to break the law, he (NOVELLO) said. People arrested for drugs often never escape the “criminal” label and find their lives ruined, he said." ................Interesting

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Okay, before I go any further, let me say that I am against legalization of pot and I don't smoke pot. However, with that being said...

    I don't really see pot as any different then lets say....a drug like alcohol....both of them can lead to destruction and yet...some people that are so against pot are the same ones that get drunk on the weekends.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    This guy does not speak for our dept!

  • Justice-400_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump East_TN_Patriot. A lot of valid, good points that I'm really not seeing many counter arguments for. I never did drugs for two major reasons growing up. 1) My parents would kill me if I did. 2) My friends didn't use them. Your peers as a kid growing up are a POWERFUL influence on your behavior. My parents made sure that I hung out with the right crowd. I still don't use drugs not necessarily because they are illegal, but because I have a future and career to think about. I also simply find it socially unacceptable. I do not look kindly upon people who think it's okay to be high and walk around high in public, and the same goes for when they're drunk.

    These assumptions that people will use marijuana and then go drive are correct, because they already do that. Legalization of marijuana won't change that. But if you're worried about DUI's with marijuana, why is alcohol still legal? The majority of DUI's are because of alcohol, yet we don't ban it because....? No matter what, people will get their hands on illegal drugs; be it marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc. It's better to take the power and the money away from the drug dealers who are murdering people every day in Mexico and other parts of South America, and put it back in our pockets.

    The idea that people will suddenly commit crimes against growers is a little ridiculous. If you can buy yourself a pack of marijuana at the store for $20, why steal it from your neighbor? Drugs these days ARE stolen from drug dealers, but mostly large quantities, but a bigger target is the money drug dealers possess. Taking drugs away from the dealers and putting them in safe, guarded, regulated establishments, will probably do a lot to stop drug related crime.

    I'm sorry,l but a lot of arguments I'm seeing here aren't looking at the bigger picture, but I am glad people are partaking in this discussion and objectively looking at the potential pros and cons of legalization of marijuana.

  • My_kids_027_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    This is not real good for his Job Security.

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    This will only hurt him.......stupid ass !

  • Snow3_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    So you legalize it and doctors will proscibe it to younger people that don't need it. People will use the marijuana and think they can drive.

  • Thinker_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Needs to go to CA to police and while there he can get a prescription for some weed to smoke all he wants...

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