Dallas company facilitates medical marijuana shipping to Texas
Medical marijuana can be delivered to patients in Texas, however the legality of it is the question on everyone’s mind.
A company called Legal Green which has been operating for three years now shipping medical marijuana to patients in all 50 states has set up shop in Dallas. Their eyes are now on the potential of a huge Texas market, despite already being involved with getting medicine to patients in Texas.
“We’ve been openly shipping to all 50 states about three years with zero issue” says Zach Pizgatti, who operates the business.
Marijuana, whether consumed for medical or recreational purposes, is illegal in Texas. Pizgatti insists that his business operations are entirely legal however.
In 2015 Texas did pass a cannabis extract bill which establishes the Compassionate Use Program. This allows certain licensed operators to extract CBD compounds from marijuana to make oil for children with severe epilepsy. That law goes into effect in September of 2017, however Pizgatti is not basing his legal theory on this law.
Instead, he cites the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which is otherwise known as “Obamacare,” signed into law in 2010. The Compassionate Use Act legalized medical cannabis in California, and Pizgatti states that according to federal law, this makes it possible for people to become a patient with a recommendation from a doctor in California and then have their medicine shipped anywhere in the country by joining a medical collective.
Pizgatti then links these two laws together by citing Article 4 Section 1 of the federal constitution, saying “Full Faith and Credit Shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”
He goes on to state “This means that Article IV, Section 1 ensures that states respect and honor the state laws and court orders of other states, even when their own laws are different. It is also known as the reciprocity clause.”
Legal Green has partnered with a company in California called CannaSense, a medical cannabis collective, to make this possible. People join CannaSense as a patient, member, or caregiver, and then have a consultation with a doctor in California by phone. After this a patient receives a recommendation if they qualify, and are then billed for the visit. They then submit their recommendation to CannaSense and once approved, can begin shopping online for medicine through CannaSense.
According to Pizgatti, the ACA allows patients to teleconference with their doctor, which makes a phone call the same thing as traveling to California to see the doctor in person, and legally makes them a California patient.
What role does Legal Green play in this process? Pizgatti states that they are the concierge service arm of CannaSense, and are focused on streamlining the processes, promoting their services around the country, and making it easier for people to navigate the system on their own. Legal Green is seeking to iron out minor issues and make this a popular method for becoming a patient.
Asked if he believes that it is illegal for patients in Texas to possess medical marijuana once they receive it, he states “At a state level there hasn’t been any issue as medical reciprocity is required. Obviously it’s still illegal federally but that also has not been targeted to date by the federal government. If they were to go after these items they would be striking at the very heart of state sovereignty.”
Medical patients have been arrested in Texas however. In January of 2017 Phillip Blanton, a medical patient from California, was arrested for possession of marijuana during his trip to see his sick granddaughter. Texas Department of Public Safety officers searched his vehicle and found four ounces of marijuana, along with marijuana-infused cookies which were purchased legally in California.
A Fort Worth based criminal defense attorney who specializes in defending those facing marijuana related charges says that this is all illegal however.
“Shipping cannabis in any interstate carrier violates federal law. If it’s illegal to possess in whatever state it’s found, that state’s law applies, as well could a variety of state and federal criminal statutes,” claims David Sloane, who also serves as the Public Information Officer for the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He adds, “Full faith and credit applies when there is no conflict in the laws of the affected states or preempted by federal law. Shipping to illegal states has all three. This is illegal.”
Sloane has seen websites popping up that ship marijuana from legal states to illegal states, and recently addressed it through his The 420 Lawyer page on Facebook.
“Websites shipping marijuana from weed-legal states to illegal states claiming it to be ‘LEGAL IN 50 STATES’ will get you in a world of trouble! Don’t do it!” he writes.
Sloane further cites a case in Oregon related to a similar operation in an effort to demonstrate that the practice is illegal. Ultimately the judgement was that Oregon cannot enforce California’s laws, meaning that a patient of California is not provided any protections of its law outside the state.
Some states do have reciprocity laws, which allow patients from other states to either purchase or possess marijuana. According to Leafly, those states include Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Between 60,000 and 70,000 people are arrested each year in Texas for marijuana possession, though it is not known how many of those people hold a medical cannabis card in a legal state.
Texas will have a chance to change its laws in 2019 during the next state legislative session. Until then, you can have medical marijuana delivered to your home, however legal experts like Sloane advise that it is illegal.