Texas man has pleasant encounter with police over marijuana
A southeast Texas man had an unexpected but pleasant interaction with the police during a traffic stop when the subject of marijuana came up.
Jason Falconbridge had recently left a SETX NORML meeting earlier in the evening. A group of people in the Beaumont area have been getting together to form a local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and he joins them in mutual interest of educating people about cannabis and changing laws in Texas. He is also the executive director of the group.
Soon after leaving, Falconbridge realized that he had left his debit card at Logon Cafe where the event was held and decided to head back and pick it up. What he hadn’t realized though is that he had a headlight out.
On his way back he was pulled over by the Beaumont Police Department for the headlight infraction. As it turns out, his registration was expired as well, but he was still within the grace period of five days.
The two officers approached his vehicle and a standard traffic stop exchange occurred. Falconbridge then asked if he could exit his vehicle to look at the headlight, which the officers agreed to. Upon getting out, that’s when he says things got a lot more interesting.
That night Falconbridge was wearing a shirt which had the words “cannabis is medicine, make it legal” along with a marijuana leaf on it.
He says the officer’s first words upon seeing him exit the vehicle were “nice shirt.” Falconridge told Texas Cannabis Report that he took this opportunity to strike up a conversation with the officer and his partner, telling them about the meeting he had been at earlier.
“I thanked him of course, and, after informing him that one of the goals was to de-fund cartels, asked his opinion. He informed me that he was totally against legalizing in Texas, and politely asked me to return to the vehicle while he ran my information.”
When the officer returned, he asked if there was any marijuana in the vehicle.
“I told him no, that I believed if you were going to do that, it should be done at home. Why put someone else at risk? I took that opportunity to educate him about the difference between regulating medicinal and recreational cannabis and the garbage that was seized in Polk county. I gave him facts straight from Denver about the reduction of murder rates and violent crimes since last year. I expressed how I knew that the federal government was only paying Texas 28% of the original agreed upon amount for enforcing drug laws, and that it was breaking law enforcement and the people of Texas, as that funding is no longer there. I detailed how the taxes in Denver went right back into law enforcement and schools, doubling and sometimes tripling the previous budget, and the drop in crime was because law enforcement had the proper funding and manpower now to focus on violent crime and other true crimes.”
Falconbridge says the officer’s primary concern was that children would have more access to the plant.
“I told him we were all about properly educating people, and how we encourage insight from those that oppose it or from those that are for it whether they are law enforcement or not. I informed the officer of the DEA Patent on Cannabis and how it contradicted the terms and language of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. He was unaware of the patent and somewhat dismayed to hear that.”
Falconbridge’s mother was also in the vehicle with him, and took the time to explain how cannabis has helped with her Trigeminal Neuralgia attacks. He described the look on the officer’s faces as she explained this to them as “priceless.”
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric-shock-like pain in parts of the face.
Afterwards, the officer gave Falconridge a warning for the headlight and sent him on his way. Falconridge says that officers did not hassle him or search his vehicle, and believes that he took a valuable opportunity to educate members of the law enforcement community and did so successfully.
“My drill sergeant ingrained the “Push the Objective” mentality into me years ago. I also learned if you are going to lead, it has to be from the front. We all have this capability, we just need to help some find their voice and get their engines running.”
He also was very adamant that the encounter went extremely well and the officers acted with respect.
“I want to iterate that the officer and his partner were both very polite, very professional, and very patient. The fact is that they see it as a black and white clear cut issue, and they are required to enforce the law. We need to not be afraid of what they will say, but we also need to not be afraid to properly approach and educate officers that may question what we are doing. I thanked the officers and bid them a safe night.”
He believes the entire encounter was recorded on the cruiser’s dash camera and wouldn’t be surprised if the department discusses it later on.
“Don’t be surprised if you see any officers attending the meetings in the future.”
By: Stephen Carter