Support for medical marijuana, and even the legalization of recreational marijuana, in Texas seems to be gaining considerable steam, despite the closing of the November 2016 voting cycle. Proponents of legal uses for cannabis, hemp, and marijuana are hopeful about the future, citing that numerous bills on the ballots are indicative of a growing public interest and awareness. As with other states in the country that have already legalized medical marijuana, Texans must first understand how legalizing the naturally-growing substance could end up helping more than hurting.
The Compassionate Use Program has already been approved in Texas, but its current condition is essentially unusable. Loopholes and stipulations in the legislation still make it illegal for doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients, even in extremely uncommon situations. But the fact that it passed at all is – once again – considered a huge victory for medical-MJ supporters.
What Legislation is Just Around the Corner?
The 2017 session could easily mark the beginning of major change in Texas when it comes to medical marijuana laws. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and its supporters are drafting several new laws that will be up for votes. Each one is aimed at working with the already approved Compassionate Use Program to get medical marijuana to people who need it, when they need it. One bill will attempt to add many more chronic, debilitating conditions to the list of illnesses that can necessitate medical marijuana use; another will try to lift the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cap on prescription cannabis, based on emerging studies that show its benefits.
Another key bill that will be returned to ballots would considerably drop marijuana possession conviction sentences. As the law stands now, a person can be locked up for 6 months and pay $2,000 in fines for possessing less than two ounces of marijuana. The proposed changes seek to reduce the penalty to only $250 with little opportunity for jail time.
The Law Office of Samuel R. Terry and the firm’s Fort Worth criminal defense attorney are always interested in any new stories involving Texas’s criminal justice system. If the drug crimes in Texas shift in favor of defendants, the firm will be able to implement new legal strategies to protect their clients. Learn more about how the firm protects Texans from the harsh scrutiny of the law by contacting their office today.