DFW NORML Election Profile: David Sloane – Public Information Officer
David Sloane is seeking election as DFW NORML’s Public Information Officer.
He currently serves as Public Information Officer and has held the position since 2010. Sloane joined national NORML in 1987 and the National Legislative Committee in 1997.
Sloane is a criminal defense lawyer by trade and has been practicing since 1997.
Asked about his efforts to advocate for marijuana law reform within the legal community he responded, “I regularly defend marijuana cases from simple possession all the way up to serious felonies for growing or trafficking, both in state and federal court. Over 70% of my practice involves defending marijuana cases. I’ve gone as far south as Houston, and far East as Texarkana, and as far west as the El Paso area. US 287 and 87 all the way up to the tip of the Texas Panhandle has been keeping me really busy since Colorado went full legalization dealing with people caught in DPS interdiction efforts.”
He adds, “in Texas I have regularly educated both judges and prosecutors to dispel a lot of myths about marijuana. A few good examples: Scales. Prosecutors were very biased against scales. If they saw in an arrest report “scales” they immediately assumed this person was a drug dealer and came back with much harsher plea offers. It took me explaining to them…one by one…how expensive cannabis is, how cheap scales are, and how commonly they are owned and possessed by cannabis end consumers.” Continuing, “Packaging. Same thing. Educating them that consumers buy a stated quantity. If it so happens the dealer had 4 quarters packaged up that is the way they are sold to the end consumer. They aren’t repackaged. Because someone got caught with multiple packages of still a small amount doesn’t mean they’re a dealer.”
“I have raised challenges on Medical Necessity repeatedly. To my knowledge I am the only lawyer in the Dallas Fort Worth Area that has. I’ve held their feet to the fire on weight determinations in determining offense severity stopping (or at least slowing dramatically) the practice of police labs including weight of unusable parts (stalks and stems) in whole plant cases they used to include in their weight determinations. Now other attorneys and even prosecutors come to me with questions about cannabis. I’m honest with them because we have nothing to hide. Marijuana is harmless and they know I know it.”
“For the longest Tarrant County did not offer pretrial diversions in ANY drug cases. I believe my persistence in meeting with the division chiefs asking them to reconsider this at least in part played a role in their beginning to offer PTD to marijuana cases ONLY. On a national level through the National Committee I have been involved in legalization strategy and reform in other states…biding my time until Texas was ready. Texas is ready NOW, at least to begin discussion. I’ve turned a lot of the money I have made defending marijuana cases back into the reform movement. Mostly to DFW NORML but some to National, MPP and so on. No less than $50,000.00 in the last few years. I’ve developed and funded wholly programs such as the Truth Enforcement Vehicle and Hydro the NORML boats (1 &2.) I will continue to do so as long as I hold a board position to provide oversight and adult supervision.”
Asked what makes him uniquely qualified for the position, he responds “Texas is just like everywhere else. Once victory is in site a bunch of Johnny Come Lately want to jump on the band wagon to get the glory when they have never spent a minute pushing that wagon when there was no end in sight. In this particular election I am really the only qualified candidate. The by-laws identify the ideal candidate to be a licensed attorney…for good reason. This needs to be, especially now as statutes and case law evolves the DFW NORML members need an attorney with access to this information to be synthesized and processed in a manner they can understand. The media too. The NORML-PIO is who they will come to for opposing views from what the Government lawyers are spewing out.”
“The position description also identifies the ideal candidate as having been a member for two years, also for good reason. I know the history, trends, legal issues, arguments, etc. that have been made and will be made again, and answers to the hard questions (often involving legal issues) that will be asked. I’ve never let them down. This is not my first rodeo. When they call DFW NORML for a quote from an opposing legal expert…they get one. Now more than ever, DFW NORML has to be on top of the legal game. But it is also important to note that PIO is the smaller part of what I do. I’m also a board member. Collectively we have made the decisions for DFW NORML and THAT has been the most time consuming and at times trying function of the position. I am widely known as a legal and social authority on Cannabis Law and Cannabis Reform in Texas. And MOST importantly, I’m here for ALL cannabis users. Not just medical, but for the 38,000 other Texans that are conscripted, shackled, and thrown in a concrete box for nothing more than possessing a flower. I don’t consider them any less important or their freedoms or liberties and less valuable that someone who claims some special need.”
Sloane was also asked what could be done to make DFW NORML more effective.
“Well of course the biggest thing we need that we don’t have is a blank check. Our lobbying efforts, I am very proud of. I am very proud of the way we have grown our organization. WE ARE the BEST NORML Chapter in the US and maybe even the world…in my humble opinion. This was no accident. It was a lot of work. And we have a lot of work to do. In addition to being a lawyer, I am a successful businessman. If I could be granted one wish I would like to see DFW NORML ran MORE like a business. Where we generate enough revenues that we could have a paid staff to do some of the things we now rely on volunteers. Being in an all volunteer organization is at times like herding cats. One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for years now is start our own court approved Drug Offender Education Program. Let THE COURTS send us new members! The money going elsewhere would come to us. Those forced to attend would walk away with a much better taste in their mouth. It would be a huge win-win. But there are only so many hours in a day and I haven’t been able to get the rest of the board on board understanding we need to spend a little money (ie renting permanent location with classroom/meeting space.) Just offering those classes alone would allow us to recoup our investment. And okay, I’m not gonna lie. I would love the poetic justice of a probationer being able to walk in and hand his probation officer a course completion certificate with DFW NORML on it!”
So why does he spend all of his time working with DFW NORML?
“Are you kidding? DFW NORML is my family! I love these guys and believe in what I’m doing.”
He concludes with saying “I’m the only qualified candidate for this position. I’ve done the job for four years and done it well. I’ve made greater contributions to this movement than most anybody. Those that have done or given more I can count on one hand. I will continue to do so whether it’s here or elsewhere. But I would sure like it to be here.”