According to Texans for Medical Marijuana, whose email brings this good news, the bill would:
- Allow a person who is arrested for possession of marijuana, and who has a bona fide medical condition and a recommendation from his or her physician, to present an affirmative defense to his or her prosecution.
- Enable Texas jurors to hear evidence and determine whether or not the individual has a valid medical defense. Presently Texas law does not allow jurors to grant an affirmative defense related to the medical use of marijuana.
- Protect doctors from being investigated solely on the grounds that they discussed marijuana as a treatment option with their patients.
- Allow police and prosecutors to exercise discretion and save our taxpayer money when law enforcement officers come into contact with a legitimate medical marijuana user. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2003 there were 57,172 people arrested and prosecuted for possession of marijuana in Texas. If 5% (2,858) of those arrested were medical marijuana users, the taxpayers of Texas wasted an estimated $11.6 million dollars to apprehend them!
Help out cancer patients and doctors, and save $11 million -- how can legislators go wrong? After all, 75% of Texans support the idea. Watch this one closely, folks -- bipartisan backing, strong public support: medical marijuana may be an idea whose time in Texas has come. And the gals over at Texans for Medical Marijuana are doing a first-rate job. If you're a Texan and want to get involved, go here to sign up for their informative emails, or check out their website.