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Texas Lawmakers Change Marijuana Rules

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 920x920 (1).jpgIn the 2018-19 session, Texas lawmakers expanded the medical marijuana rules and legitimized CBD oil. However, a bill to decriminalize low-level possession failed.

The original Compassionate Use Act only made medical marijuana available to people with severe seizure disorders. HB 3703 adds a number of other conditions to this list, such as autism, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. It's still illegal to smoke medical marijuana. Instead, patients must use inhalers or oils.

Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), who is also an emergency room physician, said she is "narrowly crafting this [bill] so it gives us some assurance and so we don't race into something with unintended consequences."

The Legal Status of CBD Oil

House Bill 1325 allowed farmers to grow hemp for commercial purposes. That permission includes cannabidiol. Advocates claim CBD Oil has a number of health benefits. Many of these benefits are very well documents; a few claimed benefits are merely speculation.

Contrary to what you may have read in the papers, this law did not "legalize" CBD Oil. HB 1325 primarily applies to production in the state, and not to retail sale of out-of-state CBD Oil products. That's especially true of edibles, pet treats, and other processed goods.

Additionally, HB 1325 did not change the definition of "marijuana" in the Texas Penal Code. Arguably, this definition includes CBD Oil and cannabidiol products. Since marijuana is still illegal in Texas outside the narrow confines of medical marijuana use, police can and will still arrest people for CBD Oil possession. However, the hemp authorization law makes it easier for a Weatherford drug crimes lawyer to beat these charges in court.

Marijuana, CBD Oil, and DWI

Driving under the influence of marijuana or CBD Oil, whether you legally purchased them or not, could still lead to DWI charges.

Texas has a very broad law. Driving under the influence of any drug is a DWI misdemeanor. California has a similar law. Recently, Solano County prosecutors charged a man with driving under the influence of caffeine.

DWI-marijuana charges are a little like CBD Oil possession charges. These cases often do not hold up in court. First, prosecutors must establish that marijuana impairs drivers. The research goes both ways. Unlike alcohol, pt's impairing effects usually last only a few minutes before fading quickly. Additionally, there is some dispute as to whether marijuana has any impairing effect at all.

Furthermore, there is no Breathalyzer test for drugs. There are blood tests, but officers need search warrants for these tests, and they rarely bother with warrants. So, the prosecutor must rely on circumstantial evidence, primarily the field sobriety tests. The state must prove not only that the defendant failed the tests, but also that the defendant failed them because s/he was intoxicated, and not because s/he was sleepy or nervous.

Marijuana laws in Texas have changed, but they have not changed much. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. Home and jail visits are available.

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