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Activists Call for Texas Marijuana Reform

Published: Sep 19, 2016 in Criminal Defense

Multiple states have approved medicinal marijuana use in recent years, and a few states allow recreational use as well. Outside of legalizing all or some use of the drug, many activists are pushing for lighter criminal punishments for growing, possessing, and even selling marijuana. The question becomes – Will Texas expand medical marijuana options for patients and ease criminal penalties related to the drug? Activists are working with legislators to do just that the next session beginning in January 2017.

Until Texas marijuana reform occurs, if it does, the drug is still illegal in the state. A charge related to a small amount of marijuana can have serious effects on a person’s life. If you’ve been charged with a drug offense, contact skilled Houston drug lawyer Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767.

Expanding Medical Marijuana

Texas took a step toward medical marijuana when it approved the Compassionate Use Act, which went into effect June 1, 2015. Under the Act, the state will grant dispensing organizations state licenses by mid-2017. Certain physicians will be able to use cannabis oil to treat uncontrollable seizures due to epilepsy.

There’s still a long way to go for medical marijuana use in the state. One of the main goals of marijuana activists is to expand when marijuana can be used for medical purposes. Right now, the law only allows for a very narrow use of one marijuana product to treat one condition. Marijuana and cannabis oil have been shown to be helpful in treating a variety of ailments, such as pain in terminally ill patients and PTSD.

Reducing Criminal Penalties

Activists are also focused on decriminalizing marijuana, or at least greatly reducing the penalties associated with a marijuana offense. Right now the potential penalties for marijuana crimes are harsh – some even consider them extreme. Less than 2 ounces of marijuana can result in up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Between 4 ounces and 5 pounds results in a felony that could put offenders in prison for up to 2 years. Most convictions also include community service and the loss of the defendant’s driver’s license.

Activist Heather Fazio has stated her and others want to take away the hazard of a criminal record and jail time for small possession charges.

Texas Politicians Divided

Despite growing popular support for medical marijuana use and additional research into its potential benefits, many individuals like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are adamant that Texas should not legalize any use of marijuana. However, 78 percent of the Texas GOP convention’s 6,000 delegates voted in favor of creating a medical marijuana statute in 2017, according to Texas Public Radio.

Contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett

Until Texas marijuana reform happens, the drug remains illegal. If you’ve been charged with a marijuana offense, contact the experienced Houston drug lawyer Ned Barnett to find out how he can help you. If you are convicted of a drug offense, you will not only face harsh statutory punishments, but will also have to live with a criminal record the rest of your life. Barnett has decades of experience helping people like you prove they are innocent, reduce the charges against them, and win the best possible outcome for their cases.

Call the Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free consultation.