Brian White | January 29, 2024 | Texas Laws
Over the past few years, there’s been a notable shift in how the U.S. views marijuana. States like California and New York have legalized it recreationally, showing a significant change in attitude. What was once taboo is now accepted by many. But, it’s important to remember not every state is on this wave. Texas, for instance, hasn’t followed this trend.
In Texas, the laws around marijuana are different and stricter. Knowing these laws is crucial to stay out of trouble. Unlike in California or New York, where you can use marijuana recreationally under state laws, Texas maintains stricter rules. Let’s dive into the specifics of Texas marijuana laws to understand what is and isn’t allowed.
Understanding Texas Marijuana Laws: A Mixed Bag
Marijuana’s legal status in Texas is a complex topic. Federally, it’s still a controlled substance, meaning it’s illegal under federal law. However, states have the power to set their own rules about marijuana use. In Texas, the situation is a mix of restrictions and allowances. Let’s break it down:
- Recreational Use: In Texas, marijuana for recreational use remains illegal. This means you can’t legally possess or use marijuana for leisure.
- Medicinal Use: Texas has a Compassionate Use Program (CUP) allowing low-THC cannabis for certain medical conditions. This program permits approved doctors to prescribe cannabis with less than 0.5% THC.
- Decriminalization: Some Texas cities, like Austin, have taken steps to decriminalize marijuana. In Austin, for example, law enforcement generally won’t pursue charges for possession of small amounts, typically under 4 ounces. Decriminalization doesn’t make it legal, but it does mean fewer legal consequences for certain amounts.
Understanding these distinctions is key to navigating the landscape of marijuana laws in Texas.
Texas Embraces Medical Marijuana
In Texas, there’s recognition that medical marijuana can be vital for those in need. The state has established a program that allows access to cannabis for medicinal purposes, but with specific guidelines. Here’s a closer look at how Texas manages medical marijuana:
- Qualifying Conditions: Texas’s Compassionate Use Program caters to a range of health issues. Some of the qualifying conditions include Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Autism, Terminal Cancer, and PTSD. This list isn’t exhaustive, and there are more conditions, especially neurodegenerative diseases, that qualify.
- Prescription Process: To obtain a medical marijuana prescription, patients must see a doctor enrolled in the Compassionate Use Program. The doctor evaluates if the benefits of low-THC cannabis outweigh the risks for the patient. If they decide in favor, they’ll enter the prescription into the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT).
- Low-THC Options: The cannabis prescribed in Texas is low in THC, not exceeding 0.5%. This is different from what you might find in states with more lenient laws.
- Accessing the Prescription: Once prescribed, patients or their legal guardians can collect the medication from any licensed dispensary in Texas. They need to provide legal identification and specific patient details.
- No Age Restrictions: The program is accessible to all ages, though minors require a legal guardian to collect their prescription.
Texas’s approach ensures that those who need medical marijuana for treatment can access it, but within a controlled and regulated framework. This balance aims to provide relief while maintaining strict oversight.
The Risks of Driving Under the Influence in Texas
In Texas, holding a medical marijuana card doesn’t grant immunity when it comes to driving under the influence. It’s crucial to understand that driving while impaired by marijuana is illegal and carries serious consequences. This law applies regardless of whether the marijuana was used for medicinal purposes.
The effects of cannabis can impair judgment, reaction time, and motor coordination, increasing the risk of accidents, such as those involving trucks or cars. If caught driving under the influence of marijuana, you could face legal repercussions such as fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
It’s not just a legal issue; it’s a matter of public safety. To stay on the right side of the law and ensure the safety of yourself and others, it’s best to avoid driving after using any form of cannabis.
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