Medical marijuana defense hearing has no opposition testimony
Patients and caregivers in Texas had to wait until the late hours of the night for a bill to be heard which would allow them to tell jurors that they are consuming or administering marijuana in a medicinal capacity.
HB 2200, filed by Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin), provides for an affirmative defense to patients and caregivers should they be arrested for marijuana. Currently they are not allowed to tell jurors this information in court, even if they are a medical marijuana patient in another state or have been told by a doctor that they could benefit from medical cannabis. This effectively gives jurors the necessary information to decide that these people should not be found guilty, though it would not guarantee such a verdict.
Scheduled with about two dozen other bills, the hearing began late in the afternoon earlier this week, and HB 2200 was the last to be heard around 11:30 that night.
A number of people testified for the bill, including Mark Zartler, whose testimony can be found in the video above. His daughter Kara has both autism and cerebral palsy.
Earlier this year Kara made the front page of The Dallas Morning News. In the the article she can be seen being held by her parents as marijuana is administered to her in a vaporized form. Without it, she will punch herself in the head and face, first until blood appears, and then to the point where her bones break.
The violence stems from her autism, though no one knows what triggers it. The marijuana is the only thing that keeps her calm.
A copy of that edition was delivered to all state lawmakers last month.
No one testified against the bill, and Vice Chair Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) made a point to say that there was no opposition.
The Criminal Jurisprudence Committee also recently passed HB 81, which makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil penalty, which includes either community service or a $250 fine. After a person is caught with marijuana three times, they could be subjected to prosecution.
This makes it likely that the committee will pass HB 2200, however the bill still has a long ways to go before becoming law. The legislative session draws to a close on Monday, May 30.