Pubdate: Sun, 06 Oct 2002
Source: Stillwater News Press (OK)
Copyright: 2002 Stillwater News Press
Author: Jeff Pickens


State budget shortages are causing major cutbacks in corrections and other 
important public programs. In the fiscal year July 1, 2001-June 30, 2002, 
approximately 39 percent of Payne County felony cases were non-violent with 
drug charges. That is a large amount of tax money to prosecute non-violent 
drug use. The Drug Policy Forum invited our district drug task force to 
give a presentation. We were told that approval by the district attorney is 
required. Our invitation was rejected. We were told it would cause the drug 
task force stress. Now wait a minute! The drug task force speaks to other 
groups. Furthermore, they are under stress far beyond any questions we 
could ask. They face armed "criminals" during drug raids. Why are we, as 
tax-paying citizens, not given the privilege of a presentation? Both 
candidates for district attorney are invited to a public discussion of drug 
policy issues Oct. 9, 7 p.m. at The Strode Hospitality Center, 324 W. 
Seventh. Candidate Steve Holcombe has agreed to speak.

The current district attorney has not accepted the invitation. Prosecution 
of non-violent drug users is a major expense. We need answers.

Jeff Pickens

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