Texas is a relatively conservative state, both politically and culturally. Even though Texas did not pass an open container law prohibiting open containers of alcohol within reach of passengers until 2001, Texas still refuses to decriminalize marijuana. However, a potential domino effect may be happening across the country, as state after state decriminalizes marijuana and passes comprehensive medical marijuana provisions to accommodate for the many medicinal applications that the herb is known to be effective in treating. In fact, the most recent Texas legislature passed Texas’ first medical marijuana provision which carves out an extremely narrow exception that allows “non –THC” marijuana to be doctor prescribed solely for a particular seizure/epilepsy disorder. The bill, crafted by Sen. Kevin Etlife and Rep. Stephanie Klick would legalize the Cannabidiol oils, which don’t cause euphoria or any kind of high upon ingestion. The oils have been shown to bring relief to people suffering from intractable epilepsy. The bill has not passed into law, but is currently being sent to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk for approval, which he’s said he’ll sign. If the Governor does sign it, the law is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2016.
Currently, complete decriminalization as they’ve done in Colorado, is still not a legal reality in Texas. However, the tide may be turning even here in Texas in the not too distant future. Already, many Texans are becoming increasingly agreeable to the idea of regulated medical marijuana to treat a variety of legitimate medical conditions and even decriminalization for recreational purposes, as well. In 2015, there were a number of bills in the Texas legislature advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana and for a specific medicinal purposes.
The most liberal decriminalization bill brought to the floor of the Texas House of Representatives this year was offered by Texas State Representative David Simpson (R – Longview). House Bill 2165 would have allowed for possession and delivery of marijuana beginning in September of 2015. Under House Bill 2165, it would’ve still been illegal to sell the drug to minors. The measure passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on a 5-2 vote.
“I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix,” Simpson wrote in a Marchop-ed in the The Texas Tribune. Representative Simpson said the plant should be “regulated like tomatoes, jalapenos or coffee.”
Despite its committee passage, House Bill 2165 eventually failed and therefore did not get far enough to make it to the Governor of Texas’ desk for approval.
So despite the national trend, Texans are still being arrested and criminally charged for marijuana possession, and are telling themselves and their lawyers, “but it’s legal in Colorado!” While true, the fact remains that even in states like Colorado, marijuana has not been decriminalized at the Federal level, and in Texas, all forms of its possession continue (as of the writing of this article in June 2015) to remain illegal.
If you have been charged with marijuana drug possession, it is imperative that you know your rights and understand that there are defenses to the charges, as well as alternatives to fines, jail or prison time. It is critical to have competent legal counsel that not only understands the substance of the drug laws, but also possesses the skill to negotiate with prosecutors and, if necessary, present your case to a jury in the most beneficial light to you possible.
The Beasley Law Firm has been practicing criminal defense law for over 20 years in Fort Worth, Texas, effectively procuring justice for our clients. In fact, attorney Bruce Beasley was recognized in 2013 by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the top 100 Trial Lawyers nationwide. Don’t place your future in the hands of a lawyer that is not skilled in fighting and defending marijuana cases. Call an experienced Fort Worth Drug Marijuana Possession Attorney at the Beasley Law Firm today for a free initial consultation at (817) 338-1877.