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Texas Medical Marijuana Bill Filed PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 February 2007

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On Thursday February 15, 2007, Texas Representative Elliott Naishtat filed, an affirmative defense medical marijuana bill. To learn more about what this means please read the letter that Noelle Davis, executive director of Texans for Medical Marijuana, wrote to our supporters.

Great news! Representative Elliott Naishtat, a Democrat from Austin, filed a medical marijuana bill in the Texas Legislature earlier today! It is not the bill we were originally advocating for, but after considering all the political factors we’ve realized that HB1534 offers a compassionate two-part solution.

1. Amend section 481.121 of the Texas Health and Safety Code to create an affirmative defense to prosecution for people who use marijuana based on their physician’s recommendation.

2. Amend section 164.052 of the Texas Occupations Code to protect physicians from any disciplinary action solely for making a written or oral statement that the potential benefits of marijuana use would likely outweigh the health risks for a particular patient.

So what does affirmative defense mean exactly? It means after being arrested for possession of marijuana a patient would be ensured they could tell a court why they’re using marijuana, whereas today judges almost always decide medical evidence is inadmissible. This legislation would automatically make such evidence admissible for bona fide patients whose physicians have recommended they use marijuana.

As you can see, with this bill marijuana use for any reason will remain illegal. After a person is arrested, if they have a recommendation to use marijuana from their physician, they will simply be given the chance to present such evidence in court so the jury can decide if they should be punished or released.

However, with this bill bona fide medical marijuana cases may not even make it that far. Former Republican legislator, prosecutor, sheriff and original author of this bill in 2001, Terry Keel, characterized it this way:

 “I don’t know any prosecutor, under the circumstances this bill is designed to address, who would accept such a case and file it and prosecute it. The bill is intended to provide an amendment to our statues that accurately reflects the exercise of prosecutorial discretion as we know it today.”

Bottom line, this bill could have a huge and merciful impact if passed. If you live in Texas, please take a few minutes to call your State Representative and ask them to support HB 1534. The person answering the phone might ask you what the bill would do, so it might be helpful to have this email in front of you. You can find out who represents you in the Texas State Legislature, and their contact information, by inserting your address at the following link: http://www.fyi. legis.state. tx.us/.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 February 2007 )
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