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What You Need to Know About Texas "Legalizing Marijuana"


In June of 2016, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that allows patients suffering from epilepsy and seizures the right to access cannabis oil with low levels of THC. Texas has been hesitant to legalize marijuana and Governor Greg Abbott made it very clear that cannabis oil is the farthest he is willing to go when it comes to legalizing the substance. Below, our Forth Worth criminal defense attorney discusses what you need to know about the new bill.

It’s Still Not Legal for Everyone to Smoke Marijuana

Do not be fooled by the headlines claiming Texas has legalized marijuana use. Texas still considers recreational marijuana use a criminal drug offense and they have yet to approve the smoking of marijuana for widespread medical marijuana use. Currently, the bill allows the state to license dispensaries to sell low-THC cannabis products such as cannabis oil to people diagnosed with intractable epilepsy untreatable by traditional drugs.

You Must Live in Texas

The fine print of the bill requires you to be a permanent Texas resident in order to qualify for this program. In order to become a permanent resident of Texas you must have lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months and you must meet four of the eight conditions below.

  • Purchase a home in Texas
  • Register to vote in Texas
  • Register a car in Texas
  • Have a valid Texas license
  • Maintain a checking or savings account or safety deposit box in Texas
  • Have a legal will or other legal documents showing your residence is Texas
  • Possess a membership to a professional organization or state organization
  • Establish a business in Texas

Patients Are Not Allowed to Grow Their Own Plants

While many other states that have legalized marijuana permitted their medical patients to grow and cultivate their own plants, Texas has not granted this right. Only licensed dispensers will be permitted to cultivate the plant.

Physicians and the Compassionate Use Registry

Unlike California, which requires its medical marijuana users to register a medical card with the state, patients in Texas will not be registering their use with the state. Instead, physicians who prescribe the drug will have to register with the Department of Public Safety. In addition to registering with the Department of Public Safety, they will also be required to enter the names, dates of birth, dosage and means of administration for their patients through Compassionate Use Registry.

Department of Public Safety Not Required to Regulate

Many of the families interested in using this product have undergone countless medical procedures and tried many drugs just so they may find relief from the consistent seizures. By not regulating the cost of low-THC products, the hope will be that dispensers might follow in the footsteps of founders of the Realm of Caring Foundation and provide cannabis products for families in need at an affordable price.

There is No Age Limit For Patients

Due to the overwhelming amount of patients suffering from epilepsy under 18, the program does not have an age limit for those that can take advantage of it. The program has yet not completely rolled out but the Department of Public Safety is required to license at least three dispensaries by September 1, 2017.

Arrested for Possession of Marijuana?

Have you or someone you know been arrested for possession of marijuana? If so David Sloan, our Fort Worth criminal defense attorney may be able to help. Over the last 20 years, our Fort Worth criminal defense attorney has developed a reputation for success in the area of marijuana and DWI cases. Attorney Sloane is prepared to defend your rights! Contact our offices today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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