Medical Marijuana Bill Filed- HB 164

Texas has some of our nation’s most outdated marijuana laws. Possession of any usable amount of pot is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to 6 months in jail, and a $2,000 fine. In reality most misdemeanor pot defendants get probation. However, Texas makes no distinction between recreational and medicinal pot smokers. All marijuana consumers are criminals in Texas.

I have witnessed the prosecution of the infirm for marijuana possession. It is a horrible practice that degrades our justice system. If prosecutors will not use their discretion to dismiss cases against the sick, then Texas must join the 14 other states that allow the medical use of marijuana.

To that end House Bill 164 was submitted last week. The text of the bill can be viewed here. Notice our state’s peculiar spelling of “marihuana.”

164 would create an affirmative defense to marijuana possession. MM patients would need to show that a doctor recommended marijuana use. If so, patients could avoid conviction, probation, and further incarceration. 164 would still allow the arrest of MM patients, so drug warriors can feel good about that.

From HB 164-

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) 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.

It is time Texans acknowledged that medical marijuana patients deserve compassion and protection, not prosecution.

Thanks to the Marijuana Policy Project for highlighting this important piece of legislation.

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25 responses to “Medical Marijuana Bill Filed- HB 164”

  1. Jeff says:

    I bet the state of Texas doesn’t even know that the word “Marih(j)uana” is slang for Cannabis (Sativa/Indica) the correct name.

  2. The Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care (a Non-profit) has been working hard on getting this bill proposed and is working hard to have a senate companion bill. Please link to us in future updates.
    We are a volunteer based organization that is trying to fill the very big shoes of Texans for Medical Marijuana. We are still seeking funding for some basic hard cost so that we can build an e-mail database to organize the state. No national organization is sending resources to the State of Texas. If you want your state to change, please help your local organizations.

  3. Matt Mernagh says:

    the State of Texas should get out of doctor’s examining rooms. it’s a plant that works for people. who are we to judge another person’s pain? good luck passing this important piece of legislation.

  4. George says:

    I doubt HB164 will pass. I’d like to see Marijuana legalized for medical use… keep some honest people out of jail. Too bad HB126 will make Salvia illegal and just put even more people behind bars.

  5. Wow Matt, with all due respect it sounds like you have given up before the start of the race.
    It can pass, but it will not move if people who support it do nothing but promote defeatism.
    This is a simple, logical, conservative bill that allows the defendant to explain why they broke the law to a jury of their peers. It can pass in Texas, and will. But it won’t go anywhere until people that care do something to help it pass. We are building a true coalition of churches/organizations, ministers, and community leaders to promote compassion in the treatment of those who have a medical need for marijuana and we will need you in this effort.
    Stephen Betzen

  6. Jeffy D says:

    I can’t believe we haven’t gotten over marijuana.

    Since the begin of marijuana use 0 people have died using marijuana, you can’t overdose on this drug. Yet it’s still illegal?? How ignorant is the government. I like to see someone drink a whole bottle of whiskey, and see if they are still standing, vs smoking 6 joints. The drinker will die of and overdose. The smoker will just be relaxed and calm, and probably happy. The drinker would be abusive and angry.

    Marijuana has killed 0 people and that a fact. Alcohol has killed thousands each year. Yet Alcohol is legal.

  7. Matty says:

    hey jeffy D the reason that the goverment is keeping alchol legal and cigeretts legal is simply cause they like keeping the population down for there future plans!! our gov is curropt! we have to do something!

  8. Paddy O says:

    Please contact your state representitives today and ask them to pass this important Bill. (HB 164)

  9. Paddy O says:

    You can contact your representitive thru this lookup service

  10. Joseph "Ironman" Siler says:

    Medical Marijuana. A congress person, or maybe it was a reprisentative once stated at some meeting that “Marijuana Doesn’t Cure Anything”. I had to agree with him. I thought at the time that it only relieved symptoms. Now that I have used cannabis(marijuana)oil to successfully treat Basal Cell Carcinoma,(skin cancer)I KNOW he was mistaken. I tried cannabis oil beccause I found the surgery to remove the lesions from my head, neck, and face far too traumatic. I abhor the needle, and the knife with a passion. No doctor recommended it, I tried it on my own. My Medical Necessity is that I HATE getting stuck with needles, and being cut up like a Christmass Turkey. It sucks.

  11. Jaso says:

    man wtf ever people in TX are totally aware of the spelling and it’s meaning. What most of America does’nt understand is that TX probley see’s more or just as much marijuana users as in Cali or any other well know legal state. I’m a proud Texan for the legalization of medical marijuana. But it’s also hard as hell t be forthcoming about being a user in the state of TX due to stigma and the extreme oversight of the miracle of marijuana

  12. Steve says:

    How does HB 164 protect patients under the care of a pain management doctor and receiving long-acting pain killers like Fentanyl patches? Texas pain management doctors require their patients to sign a contract promising not to drink or use any illegal drugs. As long as marijuana remains illegal, won’t the patient be in breach of that contract, and risk losing the longer acting pain killers?

  13. Chris says:

    JASO, it’s easy to support this bill. Simply write your state reps and congress folk in Austin. I know we all fear our front doors being bashed down by the big bad DEA. However; we all need to stand up together in order for the laws to be changed. You can also support our cause for this bill on Saturday May 2nd 2009. Mark your calendars, Saturday May 2nd is the global weed march. We all need to do our part get the word out visit Look for the march in your area. If you are in Texas you can take part in our march for the right to self medicate in Austin, and Dallas. The time is right, let your local and state elected know; that you are not happy with the current weed laws. See ya there! You can also volunteer; see my return letter below from outgrowbigbro.
    Hello Chris,
    Thank you for your interest in volunteering this year! I must apologize for my delay in response to you. My “Talia” email account has been on the fritz.
    We have run straight into one of the most vital years for cannabis reform in Texas! The 81st Legislative Session is rapidly brewing. Talk of declassification, and affirmative defense for cannabis consumers is up to a roar now that H.B. 164, and 902 are out on the table. Many lobbyist groups are bustling around the capital steps. It is important that we prepare, and make our voice heard at the 2009 Texas Cannabis Crusade!

    Depending on the date you would be available in Austin, we will have numerous opportunities for you to get involved this time around!
    On the day of the event, we will need booth attendants, stage hands, crusade leaders, and help with setup, and breakdown. If you know someone who does not have a lot of time or ability to attend the event, they can still help by donating refreshments, making protest signs, or passing out fliers. I think you would fit well into the stagehand crew for A/V setup. I can’t promise that you won’t be thrown into the situation where you have to carry an amp on stage or a situation of the like. It depends on how many dependable volunteers I can gather. Please let me know if you are in a condition where you are not able to lift 50-100lbs.

    Last year we created the first MacGuyver-Style Bong Making Competition. It was a nice premise, it even turned out to be a major crowd pleaser, but we have plans to take it to the next level! One to two weeks before the crusade, I will call the volunteers together for a scavenger hunt of practical crafting items all about Austin so we can add some variety to the contest!

    I will add your email address, and contact name to my volunteer list, which will enable you to receive all volunteer updates and email alerts. Feel free to invite your friends to donate their time, or services by having them email me at Hopefully, it will be up and running soon. Until then I have my messages forwarded to this account. Please contact me any time you have questions or concerns.

    Thanks again Chris, you have already helped make a stand against the war on drugs!
    I will be in touch with you soon,
    Talia Sanchez
    Outgrow Big Bro, First Lady
    Texas NORML, Treasurer
    512-689-4892 cell
    512-552-0420 OGBB Line

  14. G says:

    Cancer is cause by mutated cells.
    High doses of THC oil not only causes mutated cell death (the cancer cells eat their own cell walls, in effect they get the munchies and go into a process called autophagy, killing themselves. It also switches off the mechanism that causes the cells to mutate in the first place, effectively curing the cancer.
    This is only one of the uses but curing cancer???
    That one alone is enough to legalize it.
    Search Terms: autophagy, THC oil, Glioma cells

  15. Chase says:

    Hey Jeff. Good job sounding like a dick. Marijuana is no more slang for Cannabis than cow is slang for Bos taurus. I guess down here in Texas we just have a firmer grasp on the English language.

  16. Justin says:

    First of all America is run bye international bankers who control all corporations like cigarettes and alcohol. Obama is just another puppet in these web of lies the “government” sends out about change and all these new anti pot commercials. If we really want to get out of the depression we are heading towards we need to simply legalize marijuana guaranteed multiple billion dollar industry. It won’t happen unless we all get involved in legalizing it. Email everyone who can actually do something about it. In reality our government doesn’t actually care about us they just want their money and power. DO SOMETHING QUIT TALKING START WALKING. PASS THAT DOOBIE

  17. Nancee Wright says:

    i have cancer and am looking for med marijuana i live in brazoria tx and am sufering from chemo. My doctor is in houton. I am not sure if he believes in it. any help would be appreciaed. thanks

  18. Shazzy says:

    i think they should defenitly legalize MEDICAL marijuana. the legalization of marijuana in general is too much of a risk for the dumbass’s this country is already dealing with.but if they legalize it they can have good uses out of it. hemp is a very versatile product which can make food, oil, and even clothing. so we defenitly should do somethin about this.

    Shazzy From Dallas

  19. Shazzy says:

    i think they should defenitly legalize MEDICAL marijuana. the legalization of marijuana in general is too much of a risk for the dumbass’s this country is already dealing with.but if they legalize it they can have good uses out of it. hemp is a very versatile product which can make food, oil, and even clothing. so we defenitly should do somethin about this.

    Shazzy From Dallas

  20. Shazzy says:

    i think they should defenitly legalize MEDICAL marijuana. the legalization of marijuana in general is too much of a risk for the dumbass’s this country is already dealing with.but if they legalize it they can have good uses out of it. hemp is a very versatile product which can make food, oil, and even clothing. so we defenitly should do somethin about this.

    Shazzy From Dallas

  21. Ron says:

    All I know about smoking pot for medical purposes is this; it works for many symptoms. I suffer with chronic pain due to spinal injury. Injury occurred in July of 1996. I’ve done all the narcotics offered by doctors and none of them work for pain from nerve damage. I know from experience that pot does work to control this chronic pain and side symptoms. In lobbying the state of TX government I get some real stupid comments back from them. “That’s just a back door attempt to legalize marijuana”. These poor, dumb, rednecks, will never admit there is scientific proof that pot works. We users don’t need proof beyond our own knowledge that it works, but the gov. refuses to listen. So chronic pain sufferers and other must sneak about and worry with being busted. Social security doesn’t pay enough to bail my ass out of jail. I have no one to care for my dogs and home while I’m in jail so this is a bitch of a worry. Of course had I the money I would do the sensible thing and move to New Mexico where not only medical use marijuana is legal, you can grow your own. Final thought; this is one screwed up state and our government allowing legal use in some states but not others is dirt dumb. At least Obama called off the feds….

  22. zipper says:

    All this “medical marijuana” stuff is bull. It’s just an attempt to keep control of it. It should be decriminalized, period. If I want to smoke marijuana, that’s my own business. I shouldn’t have to claim I have a medical problem and get “permission” from a doctor. Alcohol is way more dangerous and has no medicinal value, but you can buy it anywhere, anyhow, anytime.

  23. Daniel Underwood says:

    I’m a former Corporal in the Marine Corps. Injured in Iraq and protruding a disk. The docs give me norco 10/325 and a muscle relaxer both of which are narcotic and addicting. I would much rather prefer pot and do prefer it. So i’m sayin control it if ya want just make it legal for people who need relief from long term pain but don’t want t o become drug addicts to man made drugs prescribed by a doctor and do much more harm than pot will ever do. Very frustrating. support the bill write your senator write who ever you have to to support this bill and get all the people to do the same. If for nothing else then for another way to treat our wounded troops who have to live with pain and random drug testing.

  24. Robert Young says:

    I have gout, the meds they give me constipates me bad, marijuana helps the pain and no constipation, Help!!

  25. Mike says:

    I’ve been using marijuana illegally for the past three years for my ADD symptoms, depression, and back pain. In modest use I’ve noticed that I’m able to control my attention span as well as feel more confident at work. Too much though turns you into a couch dweller but who’s to say that similar legally prescribed meds wont do the same in excessive use. I hear of kids and friends taking pills over marijuana to get that ‘buzz’ when some of them cant even think or walk straight. Modest & Mature use for Texas!

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