In June of 2016, the NMI’s Ed Shemelya was invited to appear on the morning talk show “Great Day Houston.” He was asked to stay for the entire hour and discussed several topics, including the medicalization of marijuana, increased hospital admissions due to marijuana, and the implications of rising THC concentrations.
The whole program is available in several segments. This segment provides a good overview of the most critical issues related to marijuana.
January 21, 2016
This January, the Houston HIDTA Executive Board invited NMI National Coordinator Ed Shemelya to discuss the effects of legalized marijuana that have been observed in Colorado. Texas law enforcement and public safety officials anticipate a battle over legalizing marijuana during the state’s upcoming 2017 legislative session, and the Houston HIDTA and its partners have made the proactive decision to start preparations early. Mr. Shemelya’s presentation focused on the increased use of marijuana, especially among teenagers and college-aged adults. Increased use has a number of side effects, which are harmful for individuals, but which can also pose a threat to broader public health, safety, and productivity, and people should accordingly be aware of these before deciding whether or not legalized marijuana is good for their communities.
Ed Shemelya addressing the Houston HIDTA Executive Board. (Thanks to Houston HIDTA Deputy Director Bryan Smith for the photo.)
December 8, 2015
In December, law enforcement personnel, including Appalachia HITDA Director Frank Rapier, gathered alongside policy makers, HIDTA personnel, and industry experts in Lexington, Kentucky to discuss issues surrounding anti-narcotics legislation. The meeting’s participants came from Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia. The discussion was facilitated by Neely Carlton, a former Mississippi state senator. Ms. Carlton led the group in working through issues relating to the process of creating legislation, such as how to identify potential allies, and how to publicly state a group’s position in order to garner support among legislators.
The meeting took a different approach than many past narcotics officers’ conferences, examining opportunities for law enforcement to affect change through policy, rather than through direct enforcement initiatives. Discussions and training on these issues are critical, since topics like the best time to contact a legislator about creating a new law or the most effective ways to ask for support are not often thought of as necessary knowledge for those working in law enforcement. The meeting’s participants discussed their place within the legislative process, and where their ability to influence that process may lie. So far, the meeting’s organizers are receiving very positive feedback and hope to expand this approach for future conferences.