Texas is hardly the first state in which lawmakers are reconsidering marijuana regulations. Yet those regulations largely revolve around the topic of medical needs instead of mere recreational purposes. Regardless of the specific purpose, marijuana possession laws in the state have long been strict and costly. Although the drug has recently been under close scrutiny nationwide, what are the consequences for those caught in possession of this controversial substance?
Houston Press covers the topic of marijuana laws in Texas, but reveals that residents are wary of its actual benefits. Many state residents who suffer from conditions such as epilepsy claim that the Compassionate Use Act (the marijuana law signed in 2015) does little to actually assist their medical concerns. Even though the law initially set out to enable neurologists and epileptologists to prescribe low doses of THC-based medicines for patients with untreatable epilepsy, the process itself is complex and can be time consuming. After a doctor agrees that a patient needs medical marijuana, they first must register themselves and their patient into a Department of Public Safety registry. The Press adds that, while doctors were able to register last September, there has yet to exist a clear timeframe for patients to determine when they will receive the drug. Other complaints are over the topic of tetrahydrocannabinol levels, and the strict constraint: cannabis medicine in the state cannot exceed 0.5 percent THC.
Those in need of medical marijuana may express frustration at the system’s procedures, but other state residents have let out a huge sigh of relief regarding marijuana laws. Earlier this year, the Houston Chronicle reported on the changing Texas marijuana possession laws and its effects on the average citizen. In fact, regulations as of March 1 hold that a possession of marijuana charge no longer results in jail time, depending on the county. The Chronicle states that those caught in possession of under four ounces of marijuana no longer face arrests or court dates; these new regulations apply if offenders agree to take a four-hour drug education class.