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Texas visitor gets felony drug charges for medical marijuana

Law enforcement stopped a 67-year-old man traveling to Houston to visit his granddaughter, who is ill with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphona. The police near Decator accused him of speeding. The presence of a pipe in the vehicle gave the officer probable cause to search the vehicle with a drug-sniffing dog.

Police reported that the trunk contained four ounces of marijuana and edibles. The man explained that these items were legally prescribed medication in his home state. He had been taking medical marijuana for 10 years to manage complications from heart surgery and chronic pain from polio.

The traffic officer arrested him, and authorities chose to charge him with two felony drug charges. He spent the night in Wise County Jail before posting bail to gain his release. He chose not to inform his ailing granddaughter of his arrest to shield her from the shock. He said that he does not want to consider a plea bargain because he has done nothing illegal.

Drug possession charges can result in serious consequences if a conviction is obtained. Even if the defendant was legally entitled to possess and use marijuana for medical purposes in his or her home state, other jurisdictions may not offer reciprocity. In addition, federal law continues to prohibit the possession of marijuana regardless of state law. As a result, people who are facing these types of charges may want to meet with a criminal defense attorney to see what can be done to rectify the situation. It may be possible, especially if this is a first offense, to seek leniency from a prosecutor depending upon the circumstances.

Source: KHOU, "California grandfather charged for medical marijuana in Texas", Drew Karedes, Jan. 10, 2017

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