Earlier this week Texas lawmakers held a public hearing on House Bill 594, a medical marijuana measure which would protect qualified patients in the state by adding an “affirmative defense”. This law, which is similar to affirmative defense laws in places like Washington State, gives individuals who receive an authorization from a physician a legal defense from prosecution. `
Although in this instance patients can still be technically prosecuted, it has to be done by a jury which explicitly ignores the state’s law. Given how high support is in the public for medical marijuana, the rate of prosecution in these instances are so low that in states like Washington, it’s effectively legalized medical marijuana, eventually leading to dozens of safe access points operating throughout the state. The proposal also adds firm arrest protection to physicians who recommend that their patients use medical marijuana.
The measure isn’t perfect, but is a huge step forward for Texas.
The measure currently sits in the Public Health Committee, where it remains pending. This means that, although time is running out, the bill is not dead, and may still receive a committee vote. If its approved, it’ll head towards a full House vote.
Those in Texas should urgently contact the members of this committee (which you can find by clicking here), asking them to support this measure.