Interviewer: That’s fantastic. Do you think drug laws are getting harsher or do you think people are getting smarter?
Gary Churak: I think drug laws don’t work. We have been fighting the war on drugs for now how many years? It hasn’t made a dent in it. Yes, there are drug busts but people still use drugs and drugs are still an issue. It’s hard to say why people continue to use drugs but they do. I don’t think you are ever going to be able to control it to the point where you can stop people from using drugs. For the most part, a lot of the prison population right now are those incarcerated just because of drug use.
Interviewer: States like California, are their laws are slightly different?
Gary Churak: Yes, California is very liberal on drug things. They have medical marijuana and decriminalization of pot cases. In Colorado and Washington, pot’s legal. You can smoke it legally as long as you are over the age of eighteen. Hell, you got to be twenty-one to buy a beer but eighteen you can smoke a joint. It’s ridiculous. It depends on where you’re at. People talk about decriminalization and everything but marijuana is a different deal. Everybody says it’s only marijuana but a lot of times marijuana leads to other drugs and other issues. The marijuana of thirty years ago is not the marijuana today. Through technology and organic chemistry, the THC content in marijuana is five times what is was thirty years ago. It’s a more potent drug. Everybody says it’s a harmless crime but it is a crime.
Interviewer: There are these head shops around different areas and they’ve got substitutes that are similar to marijuana, are they legal?
Gary Churak: They are not legal. The synthetic stuff or spice has been outlawed in Texas. All that stuff is illegal including the bath salts. That stuff is even worse for you.
Interviewer: What if someone thought they were legal?
Gary Churak: It doesn’t matter, it’s a possession. You’ve got it in your possession.
Interviewer: For the younger clients that you got, do you ever work with their parents as well?
Gary Churak: All the time. Yes, high schoolers come in with the pot and the parents are usually the one’s paying the bill. I will sit down with them and look them in the eye and I say “do you want to talk with your parents here or not here?” And they’ll say, “Oh, we can talk, I’ve already told everything.” I say, “OK, so let me guess, you need a hit in the morning to get going, you need a hit around lunchtime to get you through the day, and you need a hit at night to help you relax.” “Yeah.” Then I reply, “Well, you’re a pothead, you need to get off this stuff because you’re leading to addiction.” People say it’s not addictive, it’s addicting. You start laying that out, sometimes it gets through to the kid and they clean up their act, especially after being arrested. Other times it doesn’t. I’ve had people look at me and say, “Hey I like it, it’s marijuana, I am going to continue to smoke marijuana”.
Interviewer: Do you find that a lot of clients that are seeking you out are parents?
Gary Churak: Oh yeah. In situations involving the under twenty-one crowd it is usually the parents that hire me to represent them. A lot of times the kid has to pay for it but it’s usually the parents I’m dealing with also.
Interviewer: Have you noticed any trends with social media, like Facebook or anything? Do you think sometimes that may hurt someone’s case?
Gary Churak: No, I really haven’t. A picture with somebody or somebody’s picture where they are smoking a bong? No, I really haven’t run across any of that. I imagine it exists.
Interviewer: What, in your opinion, puts your law firm above the rest when it comes to drug charges?
Gary Churak: A good lawyer is a good lawyer and there are a lot of good lawyers. I consider myself a good lawyer. I am better than some lawyers. I dedicate a lot of my efforts to my client. I personally work with my client. In other words, I don’t pawn things off on an associate. I handle every case individually for them. I am accessible to my clients and I feel I get good results from my clients.