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Understand marijuana laws in Texas before visiting

Summer vacations mean travel, and the state of Texas is a popular tourist destination -- but not understanding the changing laws regarding the use of medical marijuana could spell serious trouble for people who are intending to visit Texas from states where medical marijuana or recreational marijuana is legal.

First, it's important to understand what is and isn't legal in Texas. Texas has been a state in flux when it comes to its marijuana laws and many nonresidents may only do a cursory check of the laws and think that marijuana is already legal in the state.

It isn't.

Senate Bill 339, which is also called the Compassionate Use Act by its advocates, was actually signed back in 2015. Under the Bill, medical marijuana was legalized -- although only in a very limited form. In addition, the law doesn't actually go into effect until September 1, 2017 -- a fact that could confuse many outside the state.

Even once it does go into effect, the law limits the use of medical marijuana only to those diagnosed with a form of epilepsy that doesn't respond to other medications. No other medical use is permitted. Users will only be allowed a specific type of marijuana with a higher percentage of cannabidiol and a lower amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the ingredient in the drug that can leave people feeling high. There are also no provision for out-of-state visitors -- the law only grants the right to use medical marijuana to permanent residents of the state.

There is a growing movement to broaden legalization of the drug, but it hasn't seen any legislative action as of yet.

If you mistakenly think that you can bring medical marijuana into Texas because you have a marijuana card in your own home state or you misunderstood the legalities in Texas surrounding medical marijuana, you could easily find yourself in trouble. If that happens, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately for help. For more information on how our firm can fight drug charges on your behalf, please visit our page.

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