"Reeferendum": This Election Season's Most Confusing Political Ad Yet

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Juha Ristolainen
We - and, judging by the email, nearly every other newspaper in the state - got a very perplexing message in our inbox yesterday from a brand new political action group calling itself the "Medical and Personal Freedom PAC."

The message starts by pointing out how Texas feels mighty far behind on the marijuana-reform game. While recent polls say a majority of Texans want pot legalized in some way, there's questionable support for pot reform at the Legislature. A Washington- or Colorado-like referendum greeting Texas voters at the ballot box in the near future feels like a long shot.

BUT, according to the newly-formed pro-pot PAC: "...We could do it ourselves...We don't need no legislature ...We can roll our own reeferendum."

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Texas Man No Longer Faces Life in Prison for Pot Brownies

Categories: Get Lit

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Jacob Lavoro Mugshot
Prosecutors have dropped first-degree felony charges against Jacob Lavoro, the Round Rock teenager who faced life in prison for running a small-time edibles operation.

Lavoro's case made national headlines in May after Round Rock police caught the 19-year-old with about a pound and a half of marijuana edibles, a container of THC, $1,600 in cash and an apparent client list.

Police had claimed Lavoro was running a low-level edibles operation, charging him with felony possession with intent to deliver, which carries a prison term between five and 99 years, a.k.a. life, in prison.


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Anonymous Tip Leads to Large Pot Bust in North Harris County

Categories: Get Lit

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HCSO
An anonymous tip to the Harris County Sheriff's Office led deputies to a large marijuana grow operation in North Harris County on Tuesday, according to sheriff's officials.

Several marijuana grow areas were discovered in a wooded area off of I-45 N and Rankin Road, near a cemetery, after investigators used HCSO helicopter to pinpoint the location.

Deputies estimate that the fields -- four in total -- contained approximately 1,000 marijuana plants, which had grown between 2 and 4 feet high. The sheriff's office puts the plants' street value at about a half million dollars.

The seizure in North Harris County follows a number of other major marijuana busts in the region this month.

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Police Looking for Man in Pot Farm 'Selfie'

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Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office
Take this pot farm selfie as evidence that solo snapshots are always a bad idea.

Benigno Ramirez of Michoacan, Mexico, might be regretting his recent selfie right now, considering it has landed him at the center of the investigation into last week's $10 million marijuana farm bust in Fort Bend County.


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HPD Will Test Your Blood or Your Breath in 10-Day DWI Initiative

Categories: Get Lit

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nhtsa.gov
Don't let this be you. HPD is pumping up the DWI watch for the July 4th week.
For the next ten days, the Houston Police Department Traffic Enforcement Division will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. They gave it the catchy slogan "Don't Get 'Popped' During 4th of July Festivities," because nothing reminds you that Johnny Law is watching you like a snappy refrain about drunken/high driving.

Starting today and running through July 7, the initiative will stake out "various areas throughout the city." Yeah, we wish we had more specifics. Not so we can go drunk joy riding, but so, you know...to inform.

"Additional officers will be deployed at high-risk locations around the Houston area to conduct DWI enforcement efforts during times that alcohol-related crashes are most frequent," HPD said in a statement. We're going to assume this is during the after-work happy hour times, or during the after-after-after-party hours of 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.

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Congress Votes to End War on Medical Marijuana

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Photo by Hammerin Man via flickr

Medical marijuana patients, rejoice. The federal government is no longer in fear of your (state-legal) reefer.

Late last night, Congress voted to essentially end the federal war on medical marijuana by approving a measure that prohibits the Department of Justice -- which includes the DEA, by the way -- from spending federal funds to fight state laws on medical cannabis. This means that if a state has legalized medical marijuana, the medical marijuana dispensaries are no longer subject to the threat of raids by the federal government, and patients and providers are no longer subject to arrest.

"It's becoming clearer and clearer that marijuana prohibition's days are numbered," says Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, who has been lobbying for support of the measure since 2003.

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Now That We've Decided to Arm Fetuses, How Do We Get 'Em the Weapons They Need?

Categories: Get Lit

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Jesus friggin' Christ, guys.
It's been a few days since we checked in with Rep. Steve Stockman's belief that the only way to prevent abortions is to provide zygote Uzis and fetal firearms. You can apparently obtain one of his now-famous bumper stickers, pictured right, with a donation of only $10 to the Congressman's re-election camp. (As much as we'd like to, alas, journalistic ethics prevented us for asking for a bundle in exchange for all this free publicity we're sending Stockman's camp. Have to pay for them like the rest of you, unfortunately.)

Thankfully, the Internet has finally come through, with national pubs getting this Onion-inspired bumper sticker the play it deserves. I'm sure there's no amount of public shaming that will get Stockman to change his tune -- "If they're pissed, we're doing something right!" -- and we'll have to wait until 2014 to see if we'll get more blatula-strapped swag we can save for future generations.

In the meantime, we've attempted to cobble the 10 best Tweets from the past few days reacting to Stockman's grammar-challenged attempt at ... humor? rhetoric? evidence of the abject failure of the Detroit school system? Have a look-see, and tell me each wouldn't make a better bumper sticker along the way:

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Steve Stockman Wants Zygotes as Armed as the Rest of Us

Categories: Get Lit

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Arm 'em! Arm 'em to the baby teeth!
After vowing to impeach President Obama and inviting Ted Nugent to this year's State of the Union address, it's clear that Steve Stockman is just the gift that keeps on giving. And now, it seems it's your turn to give someone the gift that Steve Stockman, and the rest of the far-right loon-bin, can stand firmly behind.

According to Stockman's campaign Twitter feed -- the Congressman is up for reelection in 2014 -- there seems one logical solution to the issue of abortion that, forty years into its legalization, continues to bring moral ruin to the infanticidal maniacs sitting in Washington. Per a new bumper sticker released Thursday, the only way to keep the li'l zygotes from reaching fruition is to toss them some Colt .45s and let God sort 'em out.

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Looking Back At The Genuine Texas Handbook, 30 Years Later

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No tacos, no Geto Boys, no SXSW...
This past weekend I found a copy of Rosemary Kent's 1981 book The Genuine Texas Handbook at a thrift store off Highway 290. The 224-page golden treasury of Texicana hails from a time when 1980's Urban Cowboy and the oil boom was coloring the worldview of the Lone Star State, for better or worse.

The book is only a little bit over 30 years old, making it outdated to say the least, but still amazingly prescient in some passages. It's made up of infographics (which is how everyone gets most of their news now anyway) and cute chapters on things that you must know to be a well-adjusted Texan.

The Handbook tackles everything from food, drinking, clothing, shopping, oil, rich people, and everything in between, with a pinch of Texas history and a whole lot of outrageous generalizations.

The Texas the book describes is not the one we know today. This is a genteel, stereotypical, and prosperously white Texas. There are no mentions of upscale cuisine, gays, codeine, pollution, hip-hop, or any minorities beyond Mama Ninfa, border town shop owners, Charley Pride, or Freddy Fender.

So it's like a time capsule, or hanging out with a grandparent who doesn't know that it's 2012. But for all it's shortcomings you can't but feel some sort of demented state pride while holding the book. What other states besides maybe Louisiana and California warrant a "handbook" -- no matter how sarcastic -- for its citizens?

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Seven Sins: A True-Crime E-Book from Village Voice Media

Categories: Crime, Get Lit

Every week writers for Houston Press and our parent company, Village Voice Media, produce elegant magazine-style feature writing -- a gritty portion of which comes in the form of true-crime stories. Now VVM has collected some of its best recent true-crime yarns into an ebook: Seven Sins: A True Crime Anthology from Village Voice Media. Available on Amazon and iTunes, the book features seven stories, including the incredible tale of a young American Muslim woman "honor-killed" by her own father; the odd story of a young San Francisco woman so enamored of serial killers that she became known as America's most prominent "murder groupie"; and a historic murder case in Colorado in which the golden age of tabloid journalism collided with Erle Stanley Gardner, the larger-than-life creator of the Perry Mason mysteries.

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