Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Texas

  1. Texas Cannabis
  2. Texas Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Texas

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Prescription in Texas

In a state where recreational marijuana is illegal, obtaining a medical marijuana prescription is the only way for residents to legally buy and possess low-THC cannabis. The benefits of having a medical marijuana prescription in Texas include:

Legal Protection

Per Section 481.111(e)(1) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, a valid medical marijuana prescription under the Texas Compassionate Use Program exempts an individual from criminal offenses relating to the possession of low-THC cannabis prescribed under the prescription from a Texas-licensed dispensing organization. Note that low-THC products are not permitted to have more than 1.0% by weight of THC. Law enforcement officers are authorized to contact the Department of Public Safety to verify a patient's prescription in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). Persons with valid prescriptions in the CURT are advised to have their government-issued IDs, such as Texas driver's licenses, with them when traveling within Texas with low-THC cannabis.

Access for Minors

Since there is no age restriction for low-THC cannabis prescriptions in Texas, minors are able to use approved cannabis products without valid prescriptions. Without an unexpired prescription, cannabis is inaccessible to minors and adults in Texas.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Prescription in Texas

The downsides of getting a Texas medical marijuana prescription include the following:

Firearm Prohibition

Although the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) states that participation in the state's Compassionate Use Program or having a low-THC cannabis prescription does not disqualify a person from possessing a firearm, federal law says otherwise. According to a 2011 letter to federal firearms licensees (FFLs), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, cannabis use, even for medicinal purposes, qualifies an individual as an unlawful user of a controlled substance under the Gun Control Act. Note that prior to purchasing firearms from an FFL, the prospective buyer must complete Form 4473, which asks whether the buyer is an unlawful marijuana user. Hence, having a valid low-THC cannabis prescription puts the patient on a collision course with federal regulation.

Driving Restrictions

Per Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code Annotated, a driver may be charged with driving while intoxicated if the motorists do not have the normal use of their physical or mental faculties by reason of impairment arising from marijuana use. Therefore, while no Texas statute indicates a permitted level of marijuana or its metabolites, motorists may be charged with DWI if they appear impaired while operating a vehicle. Since THC metabolites from low-THC cannabis use can remain in the body several hours after use, consuming marijuana may indirectly restrict the driving periods of low-THC cannabis prescription holders.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, you face being penalized with fines, loss of license, and mandatory minimum jail time. Jail sentences and fines increase with each subsequent conviction, with maximum penalties reaching $10,000 in fines, 10 years prison sentences, and loss of license for 2 years.

Also, with commercial driver licenses operated pursuant to federal law, individuals with low-THC cannabis prescriptions may not be able to obtain CDL. Individuals who have CDLs who fail drug tests may also be terminated.

Annual Renewal

Once the individual named on a prescription has completed the dosage prescribed on the prescription, a renewal for the prescription will be required unless there is no need to continue treatment using low-THC cannabis. The period required for renewal varies from one patient to the other. Although Texas allows the renewal to be completed via telehealth services, it is still an inconvenience to have to renew the prescription periodically. Also, while no fees are required for renewal by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the physician may charge a consultation fee to issue a new prescription. Depending on the Texas location and other factors, the consultation fee may be as high as $300.

Employment Restrictions

The Texas Compassionate Use Act contains no specific workplace protections for qualifying patients or persons with valid low-THC cannabis prescriptions. Hence, employers may refuse to hire prescription holders or punish or terminate employees who test positive for THC or marijuana. Until Texas passes a bill to protect low-THC cannabis prescription holders, having a prescription may put medical marijuana users at risk in their workplaces.

Federal Prohibitions

Federal law considers marijuana an illegal substance in all its forms and uses. So, even though low-THC cannabis products only contain no more than 1% THC, Texas medical marijuana prescription holders are still considered federal law violators. Consequently, if you have a low-THC cannabis prescription in Texas, you cannot successfully apply for federal employment. If you already are a federal employee, you risk losing your job if you fail a drug test for THC despite being legally prescribed marijuana under the Texas Compassionate Use Program.

Besides forfeiting federal employment, individuals with Texas medical marijuana prescriptions also risk losing their tenancy in federally assisted housing due to their status as marijuana users. Federally assisted housing is governed by federal law, which accepts no therapeutic value for marijuana. Therefore, all marijuana operations, including possession, sale, transfer, consumption, and cultivation, are illegal in federally assisted housing in Texas.

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