Clif Deuvall

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“We need to pull Texas to the forefront as opposed to being last on the list in just about every area in the United States. In fact our legislature received a D minus for this last session, and so our Texas government is really failing the people of Texas according to even the polls.” –Clif Deuvall

AUSTIN420: What first influenced you to get involved with the cannabis reform movement?

CD: It was my own illnesses that I was encountering problems with; I have intractable pain which is one of my major problems. I got tired of having to live on pain pills all the time. The last bout was with Methadone which started in 2005; I was on it 3 times a day for 4 years. I decided that there was a better way to control my pain, to have a better quality of life and so, I decided I was going to do everything I could to change the law.

AUSTIN420: Tell me of your military experience and yourexperiences with the Veteran’s Administration?

CD: I am a disabled vet and I was injured in April of 1975 at the fall of Saigon as an air-crew member, for a mission called Operation Freedom Wind. I was sent back to the states and was no longer available for the air-crew, because they said I had Glaucoma, only to find out in 2003 that it was not Glaucoma, but that I had blast-pattern lesions on my brain. With the VA, I don’t necessarily blame them for not diagnosing me correctly, but they were just looking at one problem, and not focusing on all my problems (at the time). I get treated fairly well by the VA; they take pretty good care of me. I have 9 different doctors that I see on and off, from time to time, but my main core of doctors are orthopedic, optimology, and neurology. They kind of regulate medication for me. I’ve gone down from 25 pills a day to where, now, I just have to take my pain pill when I’m in need of it. I can’t always get the best medical cannabis I need, especially in an illegal state.

AUSTIN420: In speaking of medical cannabis (in regard to your condition), how does it help you?

CD: One of the main things it helps me out with is the neuropathic pain that I live with. It makes life bearable; it controls it to a point where I can function without being on heavy narcotics and having to basically give up a ‘quality of life’ so to speak. Actually, it gives me back a ‘quality of life’ in helping control the pain and it also helps with the problems that I have from insomnia, as well as my acute anxiety problems that come from some PTSD type issues that I still have, so it helps me in a lot of different ways.

AUSTIN420: What is Texas’ weakest point when it comes to addressing the needs and welfare of medical cannabis patients in this state?

CD: The biggest problem is that the legislature does not listen to the needs and the desires of the people of this state. Our representatives have turned into (more or less) regulators of the people as opposed to workers for the people which what it was originally designed to be. They’ve stopped listening and understanding that it’s the will of the people that should drive government, not the other way around. Unfortunately, when your lawmakers refuse the will of the people, they start actually disenfranchising the people because they desire not to vote anymore. Because why vote? Because whoever I vote for is not going to listen to me anyway. So we live with the vicious cycle of keeping the status quo in-office because once we stop voting, they stay in control. So the problem is that we need representation which will actually fulfill the obligations that it swore to, which is the needs of the people and when they refuse the needs of the people, the people are automatically living under oppression and tyranny and that’s the point! The people are tired of calling up, emailing, and meeting with representatives who basically just say, okay thank you and blow you off! I would hope that the people would want to go into the voting booth and that we have representation that’s worthy enough of being in office. Our biggest problem is that we have bills that are sitting in legislature that never get heard or when they do get heard, and are the most emailed and called on bills, and nothing gets progressed, then you know that you live with the wrong representation, that they are not really looking out and understanding what the will of the people is, but instead are throwing in their own morality and choice to the table, which is not what they should be doing. We didn’t put them in-office to do what they want to do; we put them in-office to do what we want them to do. Our legislators have stopped listening and are doing whatever the hell they want to! We’ve been living under the rule of “King Perry” for over 10 years now and if we reelect him in 2014 (if he runs again), we’re going so far backwards I can’t believe it! And that tells me that our voting population does not understand how important it is to get out and get rid of ineffective government and put in effective government. I mean vote for someone who will listen to you, vote for someone who will do what you desire and vote for the people who will help Texas progress into the next generation!

AUSTIN420: What was that key moment that convinced you to run for State Representative?

CD: The death of my oldest son Bruce on June 18th 2011 (two days before his 39th birthday) was the breaking point; I had had enough of being refused, being not listened to, watching my oldest son suffer from and die from cancer! By the end of July, I had registered with the Ethics Commission to run as a candidate and filed an appointment of treasurer (which is the first thing you have to do), so it didn’t even take 30 days for me to say, ‘Enough is enough, I’m getting involved, I’m throwing my hat in the ring.’ I can guarantee central Texas one thing, even if I’m not elected to office, there is going to be one hell of a debate that’s going to come out of central Texas on cannabis and the social issues that surround it, that are created because of the prohibition of cannabis, which are education, our prison system, our taxes, our deficit, our agricultural, our economy, etc. I’m a firm believer as a former educator that we need to get drugs off of our street. You do not see drug-dealers dealing alcohol and tobacco on the streets. Why? Because they are controlled and regulated, and are accepted in society as okay for responsible use. How can legislature make laws and try to understand what’s going on with the laws they are trying to impose or change without having any based knowledge on it other than the rhetoric that’s thrown at them. If you don’t know the level of the people and haven’t been at that level at some time or understand where they’re coming from, how can you make any kind of judgment call down in Austin? It kind of goes back to educators who are getting very involved in politics now! We can look at goals and objectives and understand how to reach those goals and objectives because we were taught how to do that and we taught students how to do that. If that’s what it takes is educators to actually go in and take control of government, to educate government, and educate the people back into how government effectively works, then that’s what we’re going to have to do! I encourage anyone out there, if you want take that next step, run for office, even if it’s just local, run against that incumbent that never has anyone running against them. Ultimately it’s going to end with Governor Perry and he’s already stated that he doesn’t believe in medical marijuana; he thinks everybody should be back on dangerous drugs and controlled substances. He doesn’t have the compassion that it takes to be a leader of the people, and it takes a lot of compassion and understanding. You can’t sit there, look into people’s eyes and just refuse, when you know that they’ve suffered, or that they’re suffering, or that their family is suffering. You can’t do that; that’s inhumane! You need to have some compassion to be in government, because the people, is who you work for. If you don’t have compassion for those people you work for, then what are they to you, besides a vote?

AUSTIN420: How can the rescheduling of cannabis (on a national level) influence non-medical states?

CD: It would remove the knee-jerk reaction by a lot of legislature to not want to address the issue. Actually, if they would just repeal prohibition, it would be a lot easier, as opposed to even rescheduling; just repeal the whole damn thing and not worry about whether it’s a schedule drug or not! Then the legislators in those states would be able to say ‘Okay. Now, being how there’s no federal pressure, we can basically do what we want as a state, but we can do what we want as a state as it is, we just have to deal with federal pressure. When Obama said he couldn’t do anything, he just flat out lied to the people, because he can executive order anything he wants; I mean that’s what executive orders are written for. When he continues to let Congress use the broad scope of the commerce clause to invoke its powers of prohibition on any state (anyway it wants to) and he knows that’s what they’ve been doing, he’s in the wrong, because Federal laws like that do not preempt state laws, only constitutional. That’s what people get very confused about.

AUSTIN420: Why do you believe you are a good candidate in addressing the issues of the people overall?

CD: It’s not necessarily whether I am the best candidate for the people or anything like that. It’s that I understand the people because I come from the people. I was a working-class person, an educator, an educational administrator. Now that I’m a disabled veteran, I have to live with the same problems that a lot of unemployed people and people who live on disability have to deal with. So I know what kind of hardships the people are facing out there. Cannabis isn’t the only issue, but when you look at cannabis (and can web it into all the other issues) and say yes, we’re not putting money there, but we’re putting it right over here into the drug war, then yes, prohibition is attached to that problem. I think the best candidate is the person that’s going to go out there, the one that listens to the people, understands their needs, votes, and pushes as hard as they can to alleviate those real problems. They’ll do what’s right and push for what’s right because that’s what the people want (not the legislators) and that’s what makes a good legislator! ~