District 49 (which includes parts of Austin, Texas) State Representative Elliot Naishtat filed a bill yesterday “relating to the use of medical marijuana”. The bill would add an affirmative defense to possession of marijuana charges: proof of a licensed doctor’s prescription:
SECTION 1. Section 481.121, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Subsections (c) and (d) to read as follows:
(c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) for the possession of marihuana that the person possessed the marihuana as a patient of a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state pursuant to the recommendation of that physician for the amelioration of the symptoms or effects of a bona fide medical condition.
Further, it gives civil and criminal protections to doctors who discuss the potential benefits of marijuana with patients:
(d) An agency, including a law enforcement agency, of this state or a political subdivision of this state may not initiate an administrative, civil, or criminal investigation into a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state on the ground that the physician discussed marihuana as a treatment option with a patient of the physician or made a written or oral statement that, in the physician’s opinion, the potential benefits of marihuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a particular patient.
Finally it adds similar protections for medical doctors in the Occupations Code.
It will be interesting to see how far along this bill gets…