Is Pot Legal in Texas in 2023?
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Is Pot Legal in Texas in 2023?
Whether pot is legal in Texas in 2023 largely depends on the circumstances of its use. Generally, marijuana is a controlled substance in Texas, and its use, possession, and sale are illegal. Pot is classified as a Schedule I drug under Texas state law, meaning anyone caught with the substance could face significant legal consequences, including imprisonment and fines.
However, some limited forms of medical marijuana are allowed in Texas under strict regulations. Individuals with epilepsy and those suffering from several other conditions may now use marijuana legally in Texas under a doctor’s supervision.
More than 90 percent of Americans now want marijuana legalization for medicinal and recreational purposes, says the Pew Research Center. Morgan & Morgan has supported the fight to legalize medical marijuana in Florida for many years, with notable success. Morgan & Morgan believe patients should have the right to use marijuana to control and alleviate pain and other medical symptoms. Contact us to find out more.
What Is the Texas Law Regarding Medical Marijuana?
In 2015, Texas passed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which allowed patients with epilepsy to use low-THC cannabis oil on a doctor’s recommendation. This law was expanded in 2019 with House Bill 3703, which added additional qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Seizure disorders
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Terminal cancer
- Incurable neurodegenerative diseases
However, the list of conditions that may be treated with cannabis oil in Texas is still limited. Patients must have a prescription from a physician registered with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Moreover, medical use is limited to swallowing and not smoking the low-THC oil as prescribed by a doctor.
Other Conditions That Could Benefit From Marijuana Legalization in Texas
The benefits of medical marijuana extend to many medical complaints and diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic, the substance can ease symptoms of health conditions that currently do not qualify under Texas law, including:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
Moreover, currently, Texas laws only grant pot use to patients with terminal cancer. However, cannabis oil could benefit all cancer patients as it can reduce the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, and neuropathy.
The Legal Consequences of Marijuana Possession in Texas
If you are wondering whether pot is legal in Texas in 2023, note that except for medical use, the possession of cannabis is considered a criminal offense in the state and is punishable by law. As per the Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 6, Subtitle C, Chapter 481, the consequences for possession of marijuana in Texas depend on the amount of the substance involved:
- Possessing fewer than 2 ounces of marijuana can result in a jail term of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Possessing 2 to 4 ounces of marijuana can result in a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
- Possessing over 4 ounces of marijuana is classified as a felony and could result in a jail term of 180 days or longer and a fine of up to $10,000.
However, these are only general guidelines, and it is essential to note that the specific circumstances of a case generally affect the severity of the punishment. Laws are also subject to change. Therefore, consult a lawyer for the most up-to-date information on the potential legal consequences of cannabis possession in the state.
The Arguments for Legalizing Pot in Texas 2023
Despite the strict stance against marijuana in Texas, there has been a growing movement to legalize pot for medical and recreational use. Supporters argue that legalization of pot may not only help those with medical conditions but could also lead to:
- Reduction in crime
- Increased tax revenue
- Reducing social injustice
- Job Creation
The legalization of cannabis in Texas has the potential to reduce crime significantly by:
- Lowering the number of people imprisoned for drug-related offenses
- Reducing the black market for marijuana
- Potentially reducing the social and economic inequalities often associated with drug-related crime.
According to US News, over 21,000 individuals were arrested in Texas for marijuana-related offenses in 2021 alone, making the state responsible for 12 percent of the country’s arrests. The high number of arrests and incarcerations puts a strain on the state's criminal justice system and costs taxpayer money. By legalizing cannabis, the state can reduce the number of incarcerated people for drug-related offenses and shift its focus towards more serious crimes.
Increasing Tax Revenue
Legalizing pot in Texas could generate hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in revenue from taxes, licensing fees, and sales. The state could use the tax revenue to fund programs that aim to reduce crime and improve public safety, such as community policing programs and substance abuse treatment programs.
By reducing crime and improving public safety, the state could create a safer and more secure environment for all residents. This, in turn, could help to attract more businesses and investment to the state, further increasing tax revenue. Other states that have already legalized pot, such as Colorado and Washington State, have spent the extra tax dollars on health care, research, social programs, and education, improving all citizens’ lives.
Reducing Social and Economic Inequalities
Making pot legal in Texas in 2023 could also help reduce the social and economic inequalities often associated with drug-related crime. For example, people who live in low-income communities are usually disproportionately affected by drug-related crime. They are also more likely to be incarcerated for drug-related offenses and less likely to have access to quality healthcare and education.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), black people are 3.73 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession than whites. A criminal history can ruin a person’s life and career prospects, which could further increase crime in disadvantaged communities. By legalizing cannabis, the state could tackle such inequalities and improve all residents’ life quality.
Legalizing marijuana in Texas could create jobs in various sectors of the cannabis industry, including cannabis cultivation, processing, retail, and distribution. However, legalization is likely to create many more jobs indirectly in industries such as:
- Logistics and transportation
The state’s increased tax revenue from making pot legal in Texas in 2023 could be used to create various jobs in infrastructure, government, education, and healthcare, creating even more job opportunities for Texas residents.
What Do the Opponents of Legalizing Pot in Texas Say?
Opponents argue that legalization could increase drug-related crime, impaired driving, and substance abuse, particularly among young people. Some health experts say marijuana could cause harm, as the active ingredient THC is linked to various adverse health effects, such as impaired memory and an increased risk of addiction.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, pot could also cause the following negative health effects:
- Breathing problems
- Increased heart rate
- Problems with child development during and after pregnancy
- Severe nausea and vomiting (Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome)
- Hallucinations and paranoia
It is important to note that detrimental health benefits may be largely avoided with medical cannabis, which is generally low in THC and taken by mouth rather than smoked. In the case of medical cannabis, in particular, the benefits of using the substance may far outweigh any potential risks.
John Morgan Fights Tirelessly for Marijuana Legalization
John Morgan is not only an accomplished trial lawyer and founder of America’s largest personal injury firm, Morgan & Morgan, but he also played a pivotal role in the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida. His activism, advocacy, and financial support for the cause earned him the moniker “Pot Daddy.”
John Morgan’s support in backing a Constitutional Amendment designed to legalize medical marijuana in the state was crucial: In 2016, the amendment was passed by Florida voters, allowing individuals with certain qualifying medical conditions to access medical marijuana as a treatment option.
Morgan’s Own Experience With Medical Marijuana
John Morgan knows that those who see a relative suffer from debilitating pain or die of cancer will do anything to alleviate their loved one’s pain and suffering. In his own family, he witnessed the benefits of cannabis firsthand when his father found pain relief with medical marijuana in his final days. Morgan’s brother, who suffered a permanent spinal injury early in life, also uses medical marijuana to alleviate chronic pain.
Morgan wants all individuals experiencing chronic or life-limiting conditions to have access to medical marijuana and find relief for symptoms reducing their quality of life. Moreover, he is convinced that medical marijuana is safer than other pain medications, such as opioids, and could help end the rampant problem of prescription drug abuse. John Morgan still passionately advocates for legalization, often sharing his thoughts about the benefits of medical marijuana on various Morgan & Morgan social media platforms.
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How Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Prescription in Texas?
If you suffer from a qualifying medical condition, you could get low-THC cannabis prescribed by a doctor, provided you are:
- A permanent Texas resident
- A Compassionate Use Program registered doctor prescribes
- Your physician decides that any medical benefits outweigh the risks
While there is no age limit, patients under 18 years may require a legal guardian.
After your physician has entered a prescription into the Compassionate Use Registry, you can get the cannabis oil prescribed to you from any licensed dispensary. Make sure to bring an ID when collecting your prescription.
Is Pot Legal as Per Federal Law?
Pot, also known as marijuana or cannabis, remains illegal under federal law. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it may have a high potential for abuse and is not accepted for medical use. This classification places marijuana in the same category as more harmful drugs such as heroin and LSD.
However, the issue is much more complicated. As of 2022, 37 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana, while 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. Therefore, state laws are currently in conflict with federal law, creating a complex legal situation for those involved in the cannabis industry. While several bills have been introduced in Congress to decriminalize or legalize marijuana at the federal level, none have yet passed into law.
Meanwhile, the cannabis industry has continued to grow, mainly due to the support of the general public and state governments. While federal laws will likely change in the next few years to reflect these shifting attitudes, those currently involved in the cannabis industry still face significant legal uncertainty and risk.
Can I Grow Pot Legally in Texas in 2023?
Some states allow individuals to grow their own medical marijuana. However, by law, growing cannabis in Texas is prohibited, whether you want to use the substance for medical or recreational use (which is also illegal).
Can I Legally Self-Medicate With Cannabis in Texas?
In those states that have not legalized cannabis for recreational use, including Texas, self-medicating with cannabis or using cannabis for any medical condition is generally prohibited. Moreover, even possessing small amounts of cannabis could land you in hot water with the law.
If you have a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana in Texas, you need to obtain a prescription from a healthcare provider, allowing you to purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary.
Do I Need a Medical Marijuana Card to Buy My Medication?
Generally, patients only need a valid ID to pick up medication from licensed dispensaries. However, some doctors can issue you a card to quickly identify yourself as a registered patient. Having a card can be useful in certain situations, for example, to present to an employer or law enforcement.
Need Legal Help? Contact Morgan & Morgan
At Morgan & Morgan, we have been fighting For the People for over 35 years with over $15 billion recovered for our clients. If you have questions or concerns about legal pot use in Texas in 2023, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We’re here to help.