Good Morning, Everyone
HB 1491, a Medical Marijuana Affirmative Defense bill has been introduced in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Elliot Naishtat and will soon be going to committee and we need all hands on deck to get this passed. Here is the bill in its entirety with a short paragraph after every section explaining what it means to us here in the Lone Star State. Please read the bill and call, email and write your representatives about HB 1491 and HB 548 and check out our “Activism” Page for the latest news and contact information.
“By:Naishtat H.B. No.1491
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to the medical use of marihuana.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1: Section 481.121, Health and Safety Code, is
amended by adding Subsections (c) and (d) to read as follows:
(c)It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under
Subsection (a) that the person possessed the marihuana as a patient
of a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state pursuant
to the recommendation of that physician for the amelioration of the
symptoms or effects of a bona fide medical condition.
(d)An agency, including a law enforcement agency, of this
state or a political subdivision of this state may not initiate an
administrative, civil, or criminal investigation into a physician
licensed to practice medicine in this state on the ground that the
physician discussed marihuana as a treatment option with a patient
of the physician or made a written or oral statement that, in the
physician ’s opinion, the potential benefits of marihuana would
likely outweigh the health risks for a particular patient.”
An affirmative defense law means that if you are arrested for cannabis possession and are a patient who has a referral for a legitimate medical condition from a doctor here in Texas, you will have protection from being prosecuted and serving extended jail time after the initial arrest. While you still can be arrested even if you show your statement, when police are informed of the law change, they should hopefully realize that it would be a pointless endeavor to arrest and jail you when it will be thrown out of the court and cause undue cost to the state. This section also provides protection from criminal charges for doctors who would suggest cannabis to a patient, so that they don’t live in fear of being arrested or having their clinics shut down for being compassionate with their care.
“SECTION 2: Subchapter B , Chapter 164, Occupations Code, is
amended by adding Section 164.0525 to read as follows:
Sec 164.0525. MEDICAL USE OF MARIHUANA. A physician may
not be denied any right or privilege or be subject to any
disciplinary action solely for making a written or oral statement
that, in the physician ’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of marihuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a particular patient.”
Basically, this prevents your doctor from being persecuted professionally if they choose to recommend therapeutic cannabis use to a legitimate patient. This protection is crucial in that it gives doctors the freedom to base your medicinal needs on pure science and not the lies pervading the medicinal industry. I would hope if my doctor is given a choice between a synthetic with a laundry list of side effects and a natural plant that is clinically proven to alleviate pain and suffering for a myriad of issues, they would pick common sense every time.
“SECTION 3: The change in law made by this Act applies only
to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act.
An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is
covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the
former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of
this section, an offense was committed before the effective date of
this Act if any element of the offense was committed before that
If you are arrested for possession before this act becomes law, which will be in September of this year if all of us can get it passed, you still will have to serve the sentence that is set forth for you by the courts. Cannabis use in all medicinal forms is still illegal here and they will still consider you a criminal if caught for possession. If that sounds completely insane to you, it just goes to show how incredibly foolish and short sighted our laws are right now and how much they need to be changed.
“SECTION 4: This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.”
The date we’re hoping some common sense comes to Texas in the form of this bill and HB 548 being passed into law. While neither is perfect, they are miles ahead of where we are today and getting more favorable legislation passed is the best path to take to get full re-legalization of industrial, medicinal and recreational use. We need every member, friend and anyone looking to end this senseless war on people innocent of nothing more than using a plant to alleviate suffering or unwind at the end of the day. The bills have been submitted, now is our time to show them that backing the legalization of cannabis is not the political death knell that it is fraudulently portrayed as. Let’s get some reasonable cannabis laws in Texas in 2011!
Onward and upward,
Director of Online Community Outreach