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Texas legislature drags feet on marijuana reform

Texas lawmakers have disappointed constituents who are in favor of medical marijuana and marijuana decriminalization. Reformists' hopes of granting people with medical conditions access to legal medicine and focusing law enforcement on serious crime fizzled when lawmakers took no action on bills that had been introduced in the most recent session.

Although the state has a medical marijuana law on the books, the language effectively makes it impossible for physicians to help patients. The law states that a medical provider should prescribe marijuana instead of recommending it. A physician cannot prescribe a substance classified as Schedule I by the federal government. One of the representatives sponsoring the corrected bill said that the legislature's inaction would force families with sick members to leave the state to obtain medicine.

A bill introduced by another representative aimed at ending jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana failed to get a vote because the legislative session expired before lawmakers looked at it. A representative in favor of marijuana reform said that many legislators ignored the issue because they believed reforms would lead to outright legalization of the drug.

As the state continues to prosecute people in possession of drugs, a person who has been handed a drug charge might benefit from legal representation. An attorney could provide advice to a defendant during questioning by authorities. The advocacy of an attorney at a bail hearing could also enable the defendant to obtain release from jail. To prepare a defense, an attorney could examine the evidence to see if it could support the charges. Unlawful activity on the part of law enforcement might enable an attorney to challenge evidence and gain a reduced charge or case dismissal.

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