Texas

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Texas: Slow Paperwork Prevents Medical Marijuana Vote

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Texas legislature failed to pass a medical marijuana regime before the end of session and the failure was due to the Calendars Committee not receiving paperwork for the bill on time, according to the Texas Cannabis Report.

The report says that the measure was not heard by the Public Health Committee until one week before the end of the legislative session. By the end of that hearing, 77 of the House’s 150 members had signed on in support — enough to pass the bill. The committee passed the bill on Friday.

Heather Fazio, a member of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, said that Health Committee Chair Rep. Four Price might have had “his heart and mind” opened by the testimony at the hearing.

“He still wasn’t ready to vote for the bill himself, but he was attentive during the hearing and demonstrated exceptional character when he allowed the bill to be voted on by the committee,” Fazio said in the report.

The Calendar Committee said the paperwork had not arrived on Monday, meaning they were unable to schedule the bill that day. The paperwork arrived Tuesday, but that was too late for the House to take it up. The next opportunity to revisit the legislation is 2019 as the Texas legislature meets every other year from January through May.

Texas: Dallas Approves Cite And Release Program For Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Possession of marijuana in Dallas, Texas might not automatically land someone in jail anymore.

Dallas city council members voted 10-to-5 to approve a “cite and release” program for simple marijuana possession.

Although strongly supported, some people, like former officer Pete Schulte, think the program does not go far enough.

“In a perfect world, if people were cited, they were released and they showed up to court and took care of their case, perfect,” said Schulte, who’s now a defense lawyer. “Chances of that happening maybe 10 percent of the time are slim to none.”

Schulte thinks it would put more stress on the criminal justice system. He said if someone does not show up for their date in court, a warrant will be issued and served for their arrest, which he said would just tax law enforcement weeks or months later.

“I think it’s just pushing the ball down the court,” said Schulte. “It’s not going to help anything.”

Council member Philip Kingston, the man behind the initiative, strongly disagrees.

“That’s boneheaded,” said Kingston. “Our cops are smart.”

Kingston believes cite and release will help free up officers to focus on more serious crimes.

“I think what we’ve done at this point is made this crime such a hassle for police to mess with, that they’ll simply quit,” said Kingston.

Texas: Cowboys' Owner Jerry Jones Wants NFL To Drop Its Marijuana Ban

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jerry Jones spoke up at the Annual League Meeting for NFL team owners last week, telling the group that he wants the NFL to "drop its prohibition on marijuana use."

His fellow owners reminded him that a change won’t be coming anytime soon because it’s something that would have to be collectively bargained.

Jones is certainly not alone in the NFL in questioning the league's ban on marijuana use. Former Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said in an interview for Sportsday a few months ago that he compared it to alcohol.

"I see guys that partake in marijuana are calmer, cooler than guys that drink", Carr said. "I haven't really seen too many people get in jams or binds with their emotions or losing their cool off of marijuana."

Several other retired NFL players, such as former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, have spoken out in recent months encouraging the NFL to consider new information available, and to drop its ban on medical marijuana. Some players feel that using medical marijuana is safer than using prescription painkillers, which can be addictive.

The NFL told Pro Football Talk it is "willing to listen to the medical community" regarding the use of marijuana.

Texas: Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Is Getting A Hearing In The State House

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill that would decriminalize the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana has been scheduled for a hearing at the Texas State Capitol.

House Bill 81 will be argued in front of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 13th. If it passes, it will make low-level marijuana possession a misdemeanor.

House Bill 81 would make possession of 1-2 ounces of marijuana a Class B misdemeanor. The possession of a small amount of marijuana would result in a civil penalty not exceeding $250. Possession of up to 4 ounces would result in a Class A misdemeanor, while any amount over that would result in a felony still.

The bill was authored by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, and Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs.

Texas: State Could Lose Millions Of Tax Dollars If Medical Marijuana Not Implemented

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Care Act into law on June 1, 2015, but it looks now as if the state may not implement its medical marijuana program, and could miss out on collecting millions of dollars in potential tax revenues.

A major obstacle delaying the program in Texas is that the law requires a doctor to write a prescription for medical marijuana. The problem is that doctors can't legally write a prescription for marijuana, because it remains federally illegal, and a controlled substance. Also, prescriptions must be filled by a pharmacy, not a dispensary. The law would need to be amended so that doctors could recommend medical marijuana, not prescribe it. Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana said that legal medical cannabis in Texas may "not ever get off the ground, if we're not able to change that language in the law."

So far, the only disease approved to be treated by medical marijuana in Texas is intractable epilepsy, leaving cancer patients, pain sufferers and veterans with post traumatic stress disorder unable to legally get the medicine. A bill has been introduced in both the Texas House and Senate to expand the list of qualifying conditions.

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