This screen shot shows Russell Jones, a former California cop and Texas Hill Country resident, who is featured in a Marijuana Policy Project television advertisement.
As Lone Star State legislators talk pot in Austin this week, a 30-second television commercial that supports decriminalization of marijuana in Texas will air in the state's four largest media markets.
The advertisement features Russell Jones, a Texas Hill country resident who was a California police officer and narcotics detective for a decade.
“I know of no instance in my entire career where someone was acting out under the influence of marijuana,” Jones says. “People under the influence of alcohol are much more problematic. Law enforcement officials have more important things to do with their time than arrest people for marijuana possession."
The commercial started airing today on CNN, ESPN and Fox News Channel in San Antonio, Austin, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth and runs through Thursday, the deadline for the Texas House of Representatives to pass a bill that would decriminalize simple marijuana possession.
The ad, sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project on behalf of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, will splash across TV screens as marijuana reform activists are urging legislators to schedule a vote and support HB 507, a proposal to replace jail time and a criminal record for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a $250 civil fine.
Heather Fazio, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, says decriminalization will reduce government waste and public safety, but time is running out for the landmark proposal.
"Voters want law enforcement officials to spend their time and resources addressing serious crimes, not arresting and jailing adults for simple marijuana possession. We hope the House will pass this important legislation before time runs out," Fazio said in a press release.