2013 Medical Marijuana Legislation
As of late, 17 states have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. For others, it's the decision between pros and cons that keep them from being completely convinced this drug can be safe and effective. Those in favor of medical marijuana say that it's safe and very helpful for those suffering from life-threatening medical problems, such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, and intense pain as well as many other illnesses. Local organizations are hopping on the bandwagon as well. The Marijuana Policy Project and Texans for Medical Marijuana (TMM) are a couple. Those opposed to legalizing medical marijuana say it is addictive and leads to harder drug use, causes injury to the brain, and is just a cover-up so people can "do drugs legally" and recreationally.
According to a CBS/New York Times poll taken in 1979, 27 percent of Americans favored legalization of marijuana. Now, the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is rising in states such as Rhode Island.
How does this affect Texans? Austin Representative, Eliot Naishtat, has recently filed a bill that proposes to protect those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes. "A person arrested for marijuana possession could enter evidence that his or her
doctor gave instructions that use of the drug could provide benefits for the
person’s illness," his proposal states (Hoppe, 2013). The bill (House Bill 594) will also protect physicians who suggest or discuss the drug to patients--not prescribe. Legislatures, naturally, are worried legalizing bills such as Naishtat's would "open the door" to abusing the new law. Unlike Colorado and Washington, where it is now legal to use marijuana for recreational use, the House Public Health Committee turned away the medical bill proposal in 2011.
Texas State Representative, Harold Dutton, is also trying to pass a bill (HB 184) that requests that the penalties for being arrested with up to one ounce of pot be reduced. Currently, the law is that if a person is caught with up to one ounce, the penalty could be up to a $2,000 fine and/or 180 days in jail, an offense bigger than many other offenses. According to a Texas Tribune and University of Texas poll in 2011, 41 percent of respondents favored the legalizing and taxing of marijuana.
For those still in question about the pros, cons and background of the medical marijuana movement, a great site to check out can be found here where everything there is to know about what is currently going on right now in the news.
Aguilar, Julian. The Texas Tribune.
CBS "Marijuana: Latest News"
Hoppe, Christy. Dallas Morning News.