A wonderful victory for compassion and common sense in Texas. From the Marijuana Policy Project
A Texas patient who uses medical marijuana to treat the symptoms of HIV won acquittal on marijuana possession charges March 25 based on a “necessity defense.” Though such a defense – which requires the defendant to establish that an otherwise illegal act was necessary to avoid imminent harm more serious than the harm prevented by the law he or she broke – has rarely been successful in Texas, the jury took just 11 minutes to acquit Tim Stevens, 53. The trial was hotly contested. .
That is a good summary of the necessity defense. Exactly what harm does Marijuana Prohibition prevent anyway? I would enjoy making this argument to a jury. How a prosecutor could try and justify this cruelty to a jury is beyond me. Of course, sometimes the duty of a prosecutor is to convict, not to see that justice is done.
Stevens had never been in trouble until Amarillo police arrested him for possessing less than 4 grams of marijuana. As a result of his HIV infection, Stevens suffers from nausea and cyclical vomiting syndrome, a condition so severe that he has required hospitalization and blood transfusions in the past.
I challenge any Prohibition Apologist to justify this arrest and trial. What kind of policy justifies turning sick patients with no criminal history into defendants? Do you feel safer when we arrest people like Tim?
The common sense and decency exhibited by this Amarillo jury is typical of what we see from voters around the country,” said Ray Warren, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., and a former North Carolina Superior Court judge. “The American public doesn’t want to see seriously ill patients arrested and jailed for simply trying to stay alive with the help of medical marijuana. It’s time for legislators in Texas and around the country to follow the public’s lead and take action to protect patients, so that no one battling a life-threatening illness has to live in fear of arrest.”
Great Work by Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeff Blackburn!